Gulf Coast JFCS and TampaBay-Job-Links bring job search services to Pinellas County

August 15, 2014


TBJL career strategist Robyn Winters, right, coaches Pinellas County Resident Esther Happle at Gulf Coast JFCS in Clearwater.

TampaBay-Job-Links (TBJL) and Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services are partnering to bring new job search support services to residents of Pinellas County.

TBJL, a non-profit organization based in Tampa, helps area professionals in career transition by preparing them for their job search and opening doors to networking and employment opportunities.

Since its inception in 2010, TBJL has provided career transition services to more than 310 people. While a non-sectarian organization, TBJL was started by a group of concerned members of the Tampa Jewish community and is a member of the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services (IAJVS).

As part of its new partnership, TBJL is conducting a “Jump Start Your Job Search” workshop on Thursday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Gulf Coast JFCS headquarters, 14041 Icot Blvd., Clearwater. There is no charge for the workshop, but registration is requested.

TampaBay-Job-Links, while not an employment service, provides people looking for jobs with a professional career strategist who guides them one-on-one through an individualized job search process, including everything from self-assessment and resume writing, to the use of social media and building networking skills, to practice interviewing techniques, and more.

“The Tampa Bay economy is definitely improving,” said TBJL Board President Andi Jacobs “but there was fallout as a result of the recession. So for many people, finding their place in this new workforce environment takes time, preparation, and often a little creativity. People have to reinvent themselves when the work they had previously done is no longer available.”

She continued, “‘Boomers,’ who lost jobs due to no fault of their own, tell us they don’t know the steps to take to become financially self-sufficient again.”

In addition, Jacobs said that the organization is helping stay-at-home moms looking to re-enter the workforce and recent college grads having a tough time getting a foothold in a career. “We want to help them get that first job – here in Tampa Bay,” she said.

Pinellas job seeker Esther Happle who had been out of the workforce for 15 years, became a member of TBJL in May of this year.

“TampaBay-Job-Links was a welcome surprise for me,” said Happle. “The entire team, and especially my career strategist, gave me the career coaching and confidence to actively seek employment. I am so thankful they were there to engage me and point me in the most productive direction. I am now happily working at Tampa Bay Watch as their special event coordinator,” she said.

“We recognized that many of our job seekers were coming from across the Bay,” said Sheila Solomon Rudd, executive director of TampaBay-Job-Links. “We wanted to make our services more convenient and available to professionals and recent college graduates living in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Many of these folks are watching their expenses very carefully, so minimizing the money spent on gas to get in-person job search guidance is important.”

As part of the new arrangement, TBJL career strategists will be at Gulf Coast’s Clearwater office several times a month to meet with clients.

“Partnering with TampaBay- Job-Links allows us to provide a needed service to the Pinellas and Pasco community. We have referred people to TBJL, and now they can take advantage of these services closer to where they live,” said Rochelle Tatrai-Ray, CEO of Gulf Coast JFCS.

The partnership also will give Pinellas job candidates access to complementary social services at Gulf Coast such as family support, counseling programs and the food bank

“We often have professional clothes available for an interview. Our Counseling Center also can help provide support for the candidates outside the job search,” said Cindy Minetti, senior director of Jewish Family & Refugee Services.

For more information on career transition services or to register for the workshop, call TBJL at (813) 344-0200. If you need assistance from Gulf Coast JFCS, call (727) 479-1800 or

Published in the August 15, 2014 editions of The Jewish Press in Pinellas County and in Tampa

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