Welcoming(?)

Welcoming(?)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 07, 2014

Back in February, a local communications expert made headlines after a young woman in Chicago attempted to contact her - and received, in return, a hostile rejection letter.  The professional then shut down her Twitter account, email accounts, and her job postings board, which many said was extremely important for the communication professional community.  

Our community had some conversations about the situation, but not many about the state of Cleveland's job market.  The emails revealed more stories of an unfriendly job market for both outsiders and young people.  For both groups, Cleveland was a tough market to get into, and the email exposed difficulties in the job market that people didn't discuss beforehand.  

Conversation Starter

Now that we've had some time to reflect, what did the email controversy say about Northeast Ohio and our openness to outsiders?  

Moderators (1)

Participants (14) See All

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2017-03-30T06:45:37+00:00
Login or Register to contribute to this conversation

Recent Activity

Tim Kovach
on May 04, 2014
"This is kind of late, but here is a comparable example to consider. In DC, a city that is not..."
Tim Kovach
on Apr 16, 2014
"Yes, she aggregated job postings that I had already seen before. I imagine that most people..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 14, 2014
"Shoot, I didn't see Rachel's post above.  "
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 14, 2014
"Tim -  Were there any resources that compiled these emails you mentioned?  It seems to me that..."
Tim Kovach
on Apr 14, 2014
"As someone who was supposedly within the target demographic for her job listing emails, and..."
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 14, 2014
"Her job listing was beneficial because it had quality jobs, all in one place. It was targeted..."
Tony Ramos
on Apr 12, 2014
"Might there be a way to apply a wiki model to a job board? Open access, distributed control,..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014
"How do you see it rolling out?  Perhaps one industry, then replicating?  "
Adaora Schmiedl
on Apr 11, 2014
"Such good points - I think job insecurity drives a lot of what is perceived to be unwelcoming..."
Adaora Schmiedl
on Apr 11, 2014
"I believe what we talking about is a more wholistic approach to jobs - in working with folks with..."
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014
"Well, Kelly Blazek brought a wealth of experience to the table, which can't be replaced by..."
Luis Cartagena
on Apr 11, 2014
"Would be very interesting to see how many people actually take advantage of posting the job..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014
"I'm trying to imagine if this would be applicable to other forms of distribution where there is..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014
"Interesting... With some sort of structure, perhaps, to ensure quality, but not so much that..."
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014
"I think I meant "let's create a crowd-sourced, flattened, internetworked job bank." There are..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014
"Rachel -  I just responded with something similar; did she fill some particular need in the..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014
"By "turn it on its head," do you mean recreate it or turn it into more of a market?  She seemed..."
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014
"Now we're getting into Gladwell! ;) Tony, how can Cleveland turn the monopoly of Kelly Blazek's..."
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014
"And it doesn't even need to be personalized!  I'd love to just get a form letter with DENIED DUE..."
Tony Ramos
on Apr 11, 2014
"This might be a little bit of a stretch, but it seems that Cleveland is a bit more tolerant, even..."
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014
"Bridget, your post makes me think about the HOW. How do we change the system to make sure that..."
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014
"I hear a lot about this 'skills gap', here and elsewhere in the country.  But I think the other..."
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014
"But I don't want to be an entrepreneur.  I don't want to have to deal with my own taxes and have..."
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014
"I believe that the overarching answer to your question, Andrew, is that YPOs (young professional..."
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014
"I think that every job seeker needs to be an entrepreneur, in his or her own way. Finding a job..."
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014
"What I'd love to see is a return to the good old-fashioned employment agency.  Temp agencies have..."
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014
"Engage! Cleveland's work shows that young professionals care almost equally about their job and..."
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014
"E!C's ultimate purpose/goal can be shared through our vision statement: Cleveland will be a top..."
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014
"Question-since the situation broke, the job listing that was being sent has stopped. Is there a..."
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014
"In response to the question about what are the good things happening-we see it daily in the..."
Tony Ramos
on Apr 11, 2014 - 3:56 pm

This might be a little bit of a stretch, but it seems that Cleveland is a bit more tolerant, even welcoming, of an attitude toward monopolism than other cities or regions. Our area's greatest capitalist icon, John D. Rockefeller, set the stage and we've been players on it ever since. In her own words, Kelly Blazek seemed proud of what she perceived as her monopoly. Friedman was invoked elsewhere in this discussion; monopolistic practices and flattened, internetworked worlds are diametric opposites. And we all know which way the balance is tipping.

 

Responses(9)

Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014

Now we're getting into Gladwell! ;)

Tony, how can Cleveland turn the monopoly of Kelly Blazek's job board on its head?

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

By "turn it on its head," do you mean recreate it or turn it into more of a market?  She seemed to fill a very specific niche that Monster.com or the Cleveland.com job board did not, for some reason.  

 
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014

I think I meant "let's create a crowd-sourced, flattened, internetworked job bank." There are enough people in PR and communications who can pitch in to put something like this together, right? As the moderator of the job board, Kelly Blazek held all the power; let's democratize the process for Clevelanders looking for jobs!

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Interesting...

With some sort of structure, perhaps, to ensure quality, but not so much that one person is completely in control?

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

I'm trying to imagine if this would be applicable to other forms of distribution where there is an imbalanced supply and a demand.  I hope that makes sense.  

 
Luis Cartagena
on Apr 11, 2014

Would be very interesting to see how many people actually take advantage of posting the job opportunities. From another view, this would have to be free of charge to the HR professional. 

 
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014

Well, Kelly Blazek brought a wealth of experience to the table, which can't be replaced by professionals who have only been around for a few years. However, what the new system might lack in experience will certainly be compensated for tenfold by a sense of open communication that is, in my estimation, priceless.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

How do you see it rolling out?  Perhaps one industry, then replicating?  

 
Tony Ramos
on Apr 12, 2014

Might there be a way to apply a wiki model to a job board? Open access, distributed control, social contract. etc. (Dan Pink's anecdote at 16:11 sums up the Encarta vs. Wikipedia battle nicely. See link. Scroll down to read paragraph alone, but whole vid is worth watching for other reasons.)

 
Expand This Thread
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014 - 2:30 pm

What I'd love to see is a return to the good old-fashioned employment agency.  Temp agencies have completely supplanted them, and all they do is match opening X with employee Y... there's really no thought of helping you beyond a generic entry-level job, which may or may not last long enough to get promoted above entry-level.  It seems like workers can't find jobs and management can't find workers.  So whose fault is that?  Is the elimination of Human Resources at fault?  All I see around me is talented, qualified people sending resumes and cover letters out and never getting a response.

I'd love to get a rejection letter saying why they don't want me.  After four years of looking to get out of my entry-level job with no success and no explanation of why I wasn't being considered for jobs even below my pay level, I gave up and went back to school to get yet another degree in the hopes that something, somewhere will happen for me.

 

Responses(3)

Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014

Bridget, your post makes me think about the HOW. How do we change the system to make sure that talented, qualified people are recognized for their application efforts (it is an effort) and rewarded with the job they deserve?

Your line about getting a rejection letter saying why an employer doesn't want you, me, or the dozens of other applicants is an important one. Many - including Kelly Blazek - claim that millenials a sense of entitlement. While millenials are not entitled to get every job we apply for, I do believe we deserve a reason as to why we weren't considered for that job.

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

And it doesn't even need to be personalized!  I'd love to just get a form letter with DENIED DUE TO:

[] inadequate education/certification

[] inadequate work history

[] dude, your resume is filled with spelling mistakes

or the like!

 
Adaora Schmiedl
on Apr 11, 2014

I believe what we talking about is a more wholistic approach to jobs - in working with folks with defined barriers it's called creating a career pathway. It sounds like we are creating artifical barriers to career progression.  If temp agencies are so inadequate - why do they exist?  Maybe employers don't see an alternative.

 
Expand This Thread
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Engage! Cleveland's work shows that young professionals care almost equally about their job and their community. What are young professionals looking for in either that Engage! Cleveland can help to facilitate? All ideas welcome :)

 
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014 - 2:03 pm

Question-since the situation broke, the job listing that was being sent has stopped. Is there a gap in the community for job seekers or what other resources are filling the void? What's the need? 

 

Responses(7)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Rachel - 

I just responded with something similar; did she fill some particular need in the community that didn't get filled in other ways?  What was so special about her job board - and can that be replicated, expanded, etc., to better serve the community?

 

 
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 14, 2014

Her job listing was beneficial because it had quality jobs, all in one place. It was targeted which made it easy to find jobs one in those field would be interested in without having to sort through unrelated posts. 

 
Tim Kovach
on Apr 14, 2014

As someone who was supposedly within the target demographic for her job listing emails, and someone who was always taken aback by the way she communicated with people (and was not surprised by what unfolded, as a result), I really can't say that I agree with the praise being heaped upon her job emails. I understand that, if you are strapped for time, having a few dozen job postings consolidated into a bimonthly email is handy.

That said, she very rarely included jobs that, if they were relevant for me as a job searcher, I had not already seen days, and sometimes weeks, beforehand. And given the highly competitive nature of the job market in this region, time is of the essence. So seeing a job posting for a nonprofit organization that may be of interest two to three weeks after it was initially posted was not terribly useful for me.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 14, 2014

Tim - 

Were there any resources that compiled these emails you mentioned?  It seems to me that that was the service she really provided; not so much creating them, but aggregating them.  

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 14, 2014

Shoot, I didn't see Rachel's post above.  

 
Tim Kovach
on Apr 16, 2014

Yes, she aggregated job postings that I had already seen before. I imagine that most people engaged in a job search have a variety of places that they check regularly for positions that are relevant to them; I know I have/do. As a result, I rarely saw a posting in Ms. Blazek's emails (which were forwarded to me by a friend), that I had not already seen.

 
Tim Kovach
on May 04, 2014

This is kind of late, but here is a comparable example to consider. In DC, a city that is not perceived as friendly and inviting, compared to a Midwestern metro like Cleveland, there is a public affairs jobs site that a volunteer manages on his own time: http://publicaffairsjobs.blogspot.com/?m=1

 

He posts dozens of jobs everyday, doesn't do it for money or notoriety, and remains nearly anonymous in the process. This site provides a valuable public service and doesn't come with all of the strings attached that Ms. Blazek's did. I am truly astonished that she got and continues to get so much credit and support for her listserv. I don't doubt that she helped people, but she also benefited from it professionally and financially until it blew up in her face. Her listserv was far from unique, and she was far from the best at it. 

 
Expand This Thread
Andrew Samtoy
From the Moderator: Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014 - 11:59 am

Two people so far have indicated that this might be an indication that we are eager to highlight the bad but slow to celebrate the good.  If so, is there anything we should do to celebrate what's going well?  What ARE the good things happening?

 

Responses(8)

Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014

When I didn't land my dream job utilizing the skillset I built in school, I found alternative ways to my knowledge and understanding to work. There are so many volunteer organizations that young professionals and outsiders can easily join in order to (1) network and (2) make a positive impact around the region.  

In fact, that's how I came to join - and now lead - the Cleveland Young Professional Senate. I wanted to fufill my passion for urban and environmental planning, and I wasn't able to do that at my day job. I was welcomed with open arms to the organization and quickly empowered to speak with civic leaders and work on important projects for the organization.

Organizations like Engage! Cleveland and the Cleveland Leadership Center do a great job of connecting individuals to the niche group they are looking to be a part of or - better yet - connecting individuals to other individuals/groups that will support their passion.

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

I agree with Emily. There are a lot of good things to celebrate, however those are not nearly shared as much especially with the media. Engage! Cleveland has put on numerous events to engage the young professional community, consistently sending press releases to the community with no response. We should be sharing the positive messages.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Is the media just unresponsive, or are there other organizations you're going to to try to promote your messages?

 
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014

I think the positive messages are out there, but they can be overshadowed by the negative stories or bombarded with negative remarks in the comments section. They may not come from the traditional news outlets either. Freshwater Cleveland for example shares many positive stories about what's happening in the community. 

 

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Another question: for these organizations, what's the ultimate purpose/goal?  What's the "why" of them?  

 
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014

In response to the question about what are the good things happening-we see it daily in the programs at CLC and in our alumni network. Young professionals mentoring college interns during our (i)Cleveland program over the summer; Look Up to Cleveland class members touring Cleveland neighborhoods to learn about the development that is happening; Cleveland Bridge Builders identifying their civic vision and then developing action plans to make that vision a realy while connecting with community leaders who are more than willing to meet with them to help further their mission; and professionals who are more than happy to have a high school or college student job shadow them to learn about their chosen career and then assist with networking. Intergenerational networking through CLC programs creates connections across the community.

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

E!C's ultimate purpose/goal can be shared through our vision statement: Cleveland will be a top destination for young professionals to live, work and have fun.

The strategies that will lead us there are:

1. Attracting and retaining our young talent

2. Engaging them in the Cleveland community through events, programs and experiences

3. Changing the perspective of Cleveland

 
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014

I believe that the overarching answer to your question, Andrew, is that YPOs (young professional organizations) are a vehicle for individuals to network, to give back, and to build skills.  They are a connection to the greater Cleveland community.

 
Expand This Thread
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014 - 11:11 am

I saw the epitome of an old-world reaction to a new-world medium in the email controversy. The Internet, and specifically Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., have been the culmination of Friedman's "flat world." The heart of the issue is the question of hierarchy: does social media present a structureless world, where anyone can reach out to anyone else, or are we required to adhere to the rules inherent in "offline behavior" while utilizing the Internet for career advancement?

I would venture to say that most people in the 20-29 age range observe fans communicating with athletes or celebrities, or President Obama holding an AMA on Reddit, or an investment group forming through social media, and think that anything is possible with the Internet. That "anything" includes a young job seeker asking someone with a connection to provide a name or an email address and then to let the seeker do the real work in impressing an employer and landing a job. 

 

Responses(1)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Huh.  If this had happened a hundred years ago, and the response was published in a daily newspaper next to a castor oil advertisement, you think the public response would have been different?  

 
Expand This Thread
Becca Kopp
on Apr 11, 2014 - 11:11 am

I believe there is a large contingent of us who attempt to make our region open and welcoming.  It is my understanding that there are many open jobs here as well.  I personally see the value of living here and all of the assets our region offers.  Having said that, I think the overall mentality in the region is that jobs are available for experienced workers and people must pay their dues.  Further, many employees are staying in the workforce longer, thereby not creating opportunities for younger people with new ideas.  I think this situation highlights the need for a change in people's internal story regarding newcomers. 

 

Responses(6)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

So what would your proposal be?  Are there any actions to take?

 
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014

One of the biggest opportunities I see for young people with new ideas is in Cleveland's entrepreneurship community. From organizations like Shaker Launchhouse, Bizdom, and Jumpstart to edgier groups like Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen, Bad Girl Ventures, and the Cleveland Collectivo - there are a lot of resources for budding (and more experienced) entrepreneurs in our community.  

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

Cleveland's entrpreneurial community is a great asset. However, for those who are not entrpreneurial, we must determine how we keep them in Cleveland. A skills gap study might be a good next step. I hear daily from companies that if they hiring for a marketing person, they get 200 resumes, but if they are hiring for an IT developer they get less than 10.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

The possibility that we're imbalanced in NEO is interesting, because it seems that if we are, people from outside of the region would be able to come in and swoop these jobs up.  

Also, haven't skills gap studies been done?  What's the next step for them?

 
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014

I think that every job seeker needs to be an entrepreneur, in his or her own way. Finding a job is, after all, entirely about selling yourself and asking an investor (a supervisor/hiring manager) to make a committment to your idea/skill set.

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

But I don't want to be an entrepreneur.  I don't want to have to deal with my own taxes and have to pay for my own benefits, I want to have that taken care of by a group of people who are paid to do that, while I am paid to do something else.  The idea of everyone being their own boss is appealing, until you realize how much responsibility, knowledge, and most importantly, capital, are required to do that.  I just want to do a job and get paid money for my work output.

I don't understand why I have to be an expert marketer in addition to my actual skillset... I don't think that these soft skills can be taught, because the more I read about it, the sillier I find the whole prospect of enhancing my brand.  I just want a job, based on my skills and qualifications... not my ability to wine and dine prospective employers.

I was once declined a promotion because I failed to send the co-worker a thank-you bouquet for an internal interview.  That was the day I stopped trying for internal promotions.  Ignoring my work history in favor of flash and dazzle seems like companies want to hire 'sexy' instead of solid, and that's not a work environment I want to be a part of.  If these are the kinds of things that are actually required in today's workforce, maybe these are the kinds of 'skills' people like me need to be taught.  I don't have experience dealing with the Old Boys world, or the money to join it... so how else does one find employment?

 
Expand This Thread
Jakiel Sanders
on Apr 11, 2014 - 11:09 am

Since I heard about Kelly Blazek’s email and the controversy surrounded I have been confused as to how this one person’s actions were held up as a reflection of the broader Northeast Ohio community. I only saw it for what it was a rude and unprofessional individual who was not living up to the “Communicator of the Year” accolade.

I will admit that when I moved back to Northeast Ohio after attending college in Alabama I did struggle a bit to find ways to make new connections with people and organizations. In my opinion it sometimes feels like we have these great assets in terms of both organizations and people doing exciting work that are hidden in plain sight. Its like if you don’t know at least a tangential connection you may never discover these assets. As a community we need to do a much better job of celebrating and embracing the exciting things that are happening in our region so that other can be drawn in.

 

If this so called controversy does highlight a fault of the Cleveland area it is that we are quick to point out the bad and slow to celebrate the good. I think we have all heard (and even been guilty of at times) asking the newly arrived “Why Cleveland?” with a certain tone of indignation or disbelief. If we as a community have a low opinion of where we live, how are new residents supposed to feel?  If there is any hostility it is not toward outsiders but toward ourselves and the place we call home, and outsiders do pick up on that.

 

Responses(1)

Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

I think that the issue with Kelly did get a bit blown out of proportion since it was only one incident. In talking with Diana Mekota afterwords she mentioned that everyone else was very willing to help and go above and beyond. 

 

The entire city needs a morale shift to focus on the good.

 
Expand This Thread
Luis Cartagena
on Apr 11, 2014 - 10:06 am

I think the email exposed that not everyone is on board with the current trend of reaching out beyond the state to find new residents. However, I also do not want to insinuate the email controversy exposes some hidden truth. The trouble is not whether NEO is open to outsiders, but how much actual opportunity there is within the region. I have seen many friends move away due to the lack of leadership opportunities, and I have seen the door swing wide open for new residents. To be honest, there is a perception that you have to leave the region to find your leadership opportunity, and then the region will bring you back in a similar role or bigger.

It is important to note that the email only truly reflects the bad customer service skills of one individual. There are many initiatives aimed at bringing people to the region, and keeping them here. Growth can only occur from outsiders moving in, finding reason to stay here, and suddenly realizing they are no longer outsiders after all.

 

 

Responses(5)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Thanks, Luis.  So in effect, we're setting ourselves up for boomerangers?  

This also reminds me of Frank Jackson's statement that we need to "take care of our own."  Is there a reason to preserve opportunity here for people who are here?  

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

We have to strike the right balance. The retention of current residents is critical to our city and the attraction of newcomers can make the city even stronger.

In a recent Ohio Means Jobs report (attached) it shows that more than 70,000 jobs were posted from 1/14/14 to 2/13/14 in Northeast Ohio. We have jobs, but an issue is around skills. We need to get creative on filling the skills gap and better preparing people for NEO's work force.

 

 
Luis Cartagena
on Apr 11, 2014

I am not sure if it revolves around preserving, but more in developing. I think we are not doing a good job of developing people for the next step in their career. In my own personal experience, I have had to volunteer with different organizations in order to develop my skill sets due to lack of opportunity within my employment responsibilities. Thankfully, I am resourceful enough, and have good people willing to help me along the way, that those development skills do present themselves.

However, it reminds me of the challenges being faced by new graduates, who are expected to have real-life experience for their field of study. Not everyone has the opportunity to intern, so corporations have to be more open to on-the-job training.

Ashley, I agree there has to be a balance. Andrew, yes, this is a way boomerangers can find ways to come back, which is also a plus of the region.

 
Aseem N. Garg
on Apr 11, 2014

I think we're seeing that experience separate from the 9-5 (or much longer, considering where most of our in our careers) is invaluable in presenting a narrative. Luis, like you said, getting involved with different organizations allows a young professional to not only expand their network (rendering a cold-call LinkedIn invite a moot point), but also to expand their experience horizon and develop a more targeted and concrete set of skills.

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

I hear a lot about this 'skills gap', here and elsewhere in the country.  But I think the other side of that skills gap is a refusal by companies to pay for quality workers.  They want at least a Bachelor's degree, 2-3 years of experience, and a Rolodex of industry contacts... for $18K a year.  Perhaps if these jobs were offered with a compensation package reflecting the living expenses of those qualified to fill them, they would not go unfilled.  

It seems like the disconnect between keeping a company's expenses as low as possible and making sure its workforce is qualified is part of the issue.

 
Expand This Thread
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014 - 10:00 am

I moved to Cleveland 5 years ago after completing an MBA. As I began to network with individuals in Cleveland and shared that I was new to the city, I was met with one of two responses: Why did you move here? or Welcome! I received many more questions than welcomes, but it began to make me understand Cleveland's history.

Clevelanders need to be more welcoming to everyone coming to Cleveland, but especially to young professionals who are looking to lay roots and become active community members. Young professionals are open-minded and see the many wonderful assets that Cleveland does offer. We need to welcome them with open arms.

Lastly, the smallest percentage of Cleveland's workforce is in the 20-29 year old category with the largest percentage being the 54+. If Cleveland does not become a more welcoming city there are going to be even more workforce issues in the coming years. We have a good percentage of people who are very welcoming. We need to get the rest of the community on the wagon.

 

Responses(3)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

In thinking about these demographic changes, another question has to be asked: are we doing enough, as a community, to prepare for the future of leadership in the city?  If not, what is the first step we have to take?

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

I couldn't agree more. There has been some progress and there are some opportunities through various programs across the city, but we need to do more. We have a pipeline of talent that needs to be mentored and encouraged to take the reins in the coming years to ensure that Cleveland remains on a forward trajectory.

E!C has taken an active role in this space by offering young professionals workshops, programs and events while keeping the cost relatively low for participation. However, civic organizations need the support of the philanthropic and corporate community to keep the momentum going. These entities need to realize that the future of our town is at stake and this is an investment with the potential to have incredible results for the entire community. A lot of organizations are doing their part, but others need to join in.

 
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014

There are opportunities to develop as a leader but a challenge is ensuring that those who are looking for the development find these opportunities and engage with them, and/or feel like they can engage with them. Many times, the message isn't as widespread as we would hope and those who are seeking development aren't aware that resources exist or feel that the programs are accessible to them as an individual. 

Specific opportunities are available through Look Up to Cleveland, (i)CLeveland and Cleveland Bridge Builders with the Cleveland Leadership Center where emerging leaders learn leadership skills and how to be engaged in the community. Through these programs, leaders can hone their skills and connect with the larger civic community in Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region. 

The young professaionl community in Cleveland has many opportunities, spearheaded by organizations such as Engage!Cleveland and the many other young professaionl organizations in town. 

There is an opportunity to better reach out to those across the town and connect individuals seeking leadership development to the many resources available. 

 
Expand This Thread
Rachel Ciomcia
on Apr 11, 2014 - 9:40 am

I feel Cleveland can be an open and welcoming environment to those looking to engage in this community. Through the work of the Cleveland Leadership Center, we actively connect individuals seeking to find their place in the community, from high school students to college students, to young professionals to senior level executives. When we reach out to members of the community with requests to connect them to newcomers or individuals looking to connect, we are met with open, warm responses and follow through. It's unfortunate that this experience occurred, but I do not feel it represents the majority of networking and connecting that occurs in the community. How do we raise awareness of the positive connections being made and bring in more people? 

 
Jack Storey
on Apr 11, 2014 - 9:18 am

This topic is always so touchy, and for good reason: it's really the primary driver of generational disconnnection. Neither party is - per say - more wrong or right than the other, but it's hard not to place the blame on those who hold the "power", have stable careers, and created a lot of these tripwires in the first place. I suppose, to be fair, our generation has not always been the kindest when it comes to pointing out inefficiencies and bad ideas, and - while understandable - we should be more capable of proper framing.

As someone who attends too many evening networking events (and I've said this to many of you over the past several years), it seems to me that the problem is that we're only engaging the same folks over and over. There are a handful of people who are almost always in attendance, and the age range has maybe a strong decade at average. It's not really networking past a point; it's just hanging out with new friends in a cool environment. We tackle the same issues over and over, without real progress, mainly because we're not fully in a position to dictate what progress can be.

I would argue for a more defined and inclusive event strucuture around town. Free, monthly or weekly events that are hosted by organizations with a broad enough reach, like Global Cleveland, to entice a much more varied audience, especially in regards to age. We can't really fix this if we still refuse to hang out and talk. It's not a cureall, and it's certainly not as easy as it sounds to arrange, but I think its the only first step.

 

Responses(4)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Jack - perhaps you and Bridget should hang out

 

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Also, Joy, a monthly event idea?

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

I agree!  It seems as though there is an echo chamber of hand-wringing about what to do to fix this system, but the people who desire effective change have so little power to dictate that this change most occur for the survival of the many that progress gets stymied.

 
Adaora Schmiedl
on Apr 11, 2014

Such good points - I think job insecurity drives a lot of what is perceived to be unwelcoming attitudes.  Many older adult who have been downsized and can't afford to not work; mid-career professionals hanging on to their existing job because there's no such thing as job security, YP's wanting to get in on the job action.  It's a whole new world in terms of career progression and I feel hopeful with conversations like this that we begin to create intergenerational networks based on passion and interest - not age or privilege.  We are all going to job bounce more than ever.

 
Expand This Thread
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014 - 9:04 am

As a first-generation college graduate, I feel many of us are at an extreme disadvantage because our parents didn't have the kind of "network" we could exploit to find that entry-level job to start us off in the right direction.  When you read about how to find a job, everyone says networking is the most important thing... and yet many of us really have no idea how to do it.  To me, "networking" almost seems like a favor-based or bribe-based system which keeps the plum jobs to a select few families, leaving the rest of us to fight for the ability to be ruthlessly exploited with no hope of promotion.

When I saw the way Kelly Blazek behaved, I wasn't surprised at all... the guardians and gatekeepers of our current system of keeping the privileged in power usually just aren't so blunt about their opinion of the rest of us.  My peer group struggles to break out of the childcare/food service industries, and we're entering our 30s now.  Temp agencies are our only source of opportunity.  How on earth are we supposed to pay off our student loans when we're not just living paycheck-to-paycheck, but with the constant threat of losing employment without even qualifying for unemployment?

 

Responses(7)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Bridget - 

What do you see as the ideal, then?  What should we, as a community, be offering to young people/people from outside the region?  

 

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

I like Jack's idea of more free events.  It seems like the only way to make these connections is to join expensive groups, and without the necessary start-up capital, you can never break in.  We have this illusion of the American Dream where one works hard and pulls oneself up by those annoyingly omnipresent bootstraps, but without being able to afford the Louboutin boots that seem to be required to break into the professions, it's just going to continue to be a society by the privileged, for the privileged.

I knew after my first year of law school, when I had no idea how to even go about finding a clerkship, I was never going to get a job in that field.  Seeing my peers getting handed opportunities due to family connections was incredibly discouraging.  Now I'm going into the medical field, but I'm required to work for one year for zero dollars in compensation.  I'm lucky enough to have support during this time, but it disturbs me how our entire industry is closed to anyone without money.  It's a vicious cycle.  

The entire concept of being required to work without pay in order to even have an opportunity to receive compensation in the future is the greatest problem with the professions, and until the entire system is overhauled to reflect the fact that not only people of privilege are worthy, there can be no true change.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

This article about permatemp jobs just appeared in my news feed: 

Many labor experts see the surge in temp jobs and contract work in the United States as a sign of a long-term shift in the employment market away from permanent jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal. In March 2014, more than 2.8 million workers, or 2.5% of the workforce, held temporary jobs, up from 1.7 million in 2009; nearly 40% of such positions are in manufacturing. Temp jobs allow employers to quickly staff up or downsize in periods of growth or contraction, and they tend to be lower-wage: The average weekly temp-job pay of $554 is one-third lower than that of all jobs.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303910404579485303369082202 

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

Bridget, thinking about joining Engage! Cleveland. There is no membership fee. Some of our events are free and some have a small cost associated with them. It is a great way to network and meet new people.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

Ashley - 

One thing about the free events Jack and Bridget talk about is that they require buy-in and participation from people already IN power/with the ability to hire or do something for job seekers.  How does this buy-in happen?

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

Yes, the most important part of these events, and the only way for them to be effective, is for the 'job-creators' to be there.  People that are looking to hire someone today.  I'm a bit bored of events where everyone is there looking to get hired or increase their brand, and no one is there looking to hire.  Don't just hand me a business card and wish me luck.  I could get that anywhere, you know?

 
Ashley Oeken
on Apr 11, 2014

I think we have to work on the skills gap. I am housed inside the Chamber of Commerce and always hear how companies have positions open and cannot fill them. 

 
Expand This Thread
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014 - 8:47 am

I did everything I was supposed to while pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I completed internships with organizations in my field of study, I held numerous research and leadership positions, and I volunteered my time and talent to help community organizations. Still after graduating, I experienced the same unfriendly job market that my peers warned me about – across the many cities and regions in which I was applying to work, but also here in Northeast Ohio. While my personal anecdote does not speak of all young professionals, I know many that shared my experience: often no response to personalized cover letters and resumes, and more often the response of “we’re going with the candidate that has more experience.”

As frustrated as I became with my initial job hunt after school, I’m sure that Kelly Blazek and others in her position have become inundated, overwhelmed, and frustrated with requests to find folks the perfect job. To me, the controversy speaks more about our current job market and the frustrations young people have breaking into it.

 

 

Responses(3)

Andrew Samtoy
on Apr 11, 2014

In talking to your peers in other places, have they had different experiences?   

 
Emily Bacha
on Apr 11, 2014

They've experienced some of the same frustrations with getting that initial job. This isn’t surprising given national unemployment and underemployment statistics.  There’s a recent Brooking’s Report that was released stating that young adult (ages 20-24) unemployment rose from 7% to 15% between 2000 and 2011; underutilization rose from 14% to 29%.

Of those friends and classmates I’ve spoken with in places like NYC, Boston, DC, and Chicago: I would say maybe 50% picked up a part-time job or several part-time jobs to tide them over before landing a full-time job (speaking to the underutilization statistic). Maybe another 25% have taken a full-time job in another field, just to build up their work experience. That last 25% were lucky enough to land that perfect job.

 

But to get to your question, Andrew, it seems just as cut-throat (if not more so) in other cities when it comes to job placement.

 
Bridget Gibbons
on Apr 11, 2014

I hear the same stories from friends around the country.  I don't think this is just an NEO problem.  Some cities have decided to focus heavily on one cool industry (Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle come to mind) which make them attractive to people in those industries, but aside from our already attractive medical field, I'm not sure what Cleveland can do.

It sounds kind of mean, but the best thing the older generation could do to help out young people would be to retire.  There aren't enough jobs to go around, and there never will be again.  And instead of this, we're talking about raising the age at which people can begin collecting Social Security.  We're also seeing people working more and more hours per week instead of decreasing the workweek to force higher employment.  I see the opposite happening in Europe.

 
Expand This Thread
Joy Roller
on Apr 10, 2014 - 9:32 am

The recent controversy reflected more on the local communications expert than NEO's openness to outsiders, but as President of Global Cleveland, I agree that Greater Cleveland has some work to do to truly welcome outsiders - even some of the diverse populations that already live here.

That's why Global Cleveland was created - to attract, welcome and connect newcomers.  I hope everyone will attend the launch of our Talent Attraction Campaign on May 1st at the Cleveland Convention Center, 6 - 9pm.  Go to Globalcleveland.org to register.  While you are on the site please explore it to see how we are providing all the information a newcomer might need to find a job and thrive here in Greater Cleveland.