WHW Helps Job Seekers Gain Competitive Skills

Women Helping Women recently partnered with SCE to host a virtual job training with Edison volunteers as pandemic makes job searching more challenging.

Nine years ago, Christeen Cubillos, 59, of San Clemente was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare neurological disease where a person’s own immune system attacks the nerves. After months of hospitalization, she has spent years relearning how to breathe, talk and walk with leg braces.

In recent months, the former vice president of a staffing company has reentered the job market seeking a position in business development or marketing. In addition to applying her ability to overcome serious obstacles, she is using the various training programs offered by the nonprofit Women Helping Women (WHW) in her job search.

“The obstacles I have had to overcome, those same fears exist when looking for a job,” said Cubillos. “This pandemic has changed everyone’s lives. But you can get the support you need during this time and utilize the programs WHW has to offer.”

Season of Service photo

About a dozen job seekers were paired with SCE volunteers during a virtual workshop with WHW and SCE’s Women’s Roundtable. PHOTO: Courtesy of Women’s Roundtable

From training in various computer skills and providing free outfits for work, WHW works with men and women on job placement assistance and employment readiness workshops that are now virtual. Their free services are available to those living in Orange County and the neighboring counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego.

WHW recently partnered with Southern California Edison’s Women’s Roundtable, a business resource group, on a virtual workshop for job seekers who were partnered with SCE volunteers. In addition to tips on resume writing, the job seekers learned how to create an impactful LinkedIn profile and got a chance to do mock interviews.

“It was like talking to your best friend,” said Cubillos about the SCE volunteer she was partnered with. She, along with a dozen job seekers, received one-on-one training and support during the virtual workshop.

“It was so rewarding to hear the feedback and see the impact of all the Edison volunteers, the impact we can have by giving some of our time,” said Deanna Ellis, an SCE project analyst and community outreach director for Women’s Roundtable, who helped organize the recent workshop.

WHW team thanks SCE

WHW recently partnered with SCE on a workshop for job seekers who were partnered with Edison volunteers. PHOTO: Courtesy of Women’s Roundtable

In addition to the job training seminar, SCE’s Women’s Roundtable presented a grant for $5,000 on behalf of Edison International to WHW as part of the employees’ Season of Service giving campaign. Edison International has provided additional grants to WHW in the past.

Women’s Roundtable works to empower women, promote diversity & inclusion and help women during various stages of their lives. With similar missions, the employee group’s partnership with WHW is a natural fit.

Yumiko Whitaker, WHW’s chief development officer, noted that in addition to helping men and women job seekers develop employment readiness skills and acumen, they have a keen focus on women facing multiple barriers. Many are domestic abuse survivors, human trafficking victims, formerly incarcerated, foster youth or housing insecure. Tailored programs address surfaced needs.

“We work to make a deep impact,” said Whitaker. “We don’t exclude any one and we deal with people on a human level, meeting them where they are and encouraging ownership of their preparedness, search and position retention.”

WHW helps job seekers gain competitive skills

From training in various computer skills and providing free outfits for work, WHW works with men and women on job placement assistance and employment readiness workshops that are now virtual. PHOTO: Courtesy of WHW

Cubillos recently connected with her SCE volunteer partner on LinkedIn and appreciates the advice she received during the virtual training. She plans to edit her resume, noting that “less is sometimes more” and will do more mock interviews to prepare for a future job interview. “I have a lot to do but preparing is at the top.”

She will also continue to use the ongoing services provided by WHW throughout her job-seeking journey and even after she finds a job. The nonprofit works with its clients to ensure they are able to pass a hiring organization’s probation period, even partnering with the Orange County Transit Authority to provide transportation to and from workplaces.

Cubillos’ advice to job seekers: “Run, don’t walk to WHW. They give you that much support and time. They are here to support you.”

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