Woodstock Area Job Bank

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The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are slow ones for the Job Bank.  While the rest of the world is hustling and bustling with holiday preparations, things here are quiet. I expect them to be—unless we have a major snow storm.  I’m glad for the calm. Today, I am catching up on all the little details of office life that never seem to quite get done: papers that have to be filed, data that has to be inputted and even hanging the picture that has been sitting on my work table since last February. As I boldly check off each project, I think about how good it will feel in January, when things pick up, to have everything in good shape.

The Job Bank is lucky.  To some extent we have built- in quiet times…the lazy days of summer, the waning days of the old year.  It’s a good thing.  Doing  these mundane chores gives me the time to reflect and to plan for the coming year.

Last year the Job Bank introduced Bit Time.  During the summer months, we had lots of workers and plenty of community members who needed them.  This fall, things weren’t quite so smooth.  Most of our student workers left the program for fall sports and school. We had some success with gaining new workers for office and retail work, but— sure enough— when the first snow storm hit, everyone needed snow shovelers and we had very few names to offer.

As I dutifully work through my chores, I ponder how to make the Job Bank more useful and timely.  I fondly think back to finding a typist to type a memoir, helping an elderly woman to find her first job and cleaning up a six-page resume.

Once a local farmer stopped by to ask about finding a migrant worker for his struggling farm before he threw in the towel for good.  I know nothing about finding migrant workers, but I know that many businesses have turned to using them to fill demands.

It still seems to me that we should be able to find our own local solutions.  There are plenty of people in Vermont who could use more work. I don’t buy into the theory that, people don’t want to work.”  I don’t buy into the “young people are just lazy talk.”  I believe we just need to keep communicating and learning from each other.  Is it lack of training, lack of daycare. low wages, job security, drug addiction or flexibility.  Businesses struggle when workers don’t show up.  Parents struggle when their kids are sick.  How do we make it all work?

In 2019, I want to start a conversation between community members—the bosses and the workers— some forums with discussion leaders and snacks.

As my work day comes to an end, I am ready for the New Year.  My desk is tidy and I have a focus going forward.  Can a tiny non-profit really make a difference?  I believe it can.

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