Still In Crisis from page 12
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people than it did three
years ago. From 2008 to
2010, there was a 15 per-
cent increase in the num-
ber of 20- to 39-year-old
job seekers who want
to stay in Michigan.
Rosenbaum said the
agency projects a 10 per-
cent increase in the same
age group this year.
To meet the needs of a
younger population, JVS
initiated a program called
Elevate, collaborating with
Federation's job reten-
CommunityNEXT, to help
young job seekers use
social media to network
and to stay in the game.
"It's our Weight
Watchers for job seekers:'
said Paul Blatt, director
of business and career
services at JVS. "Every
week they come in with
an assignment" that
might include going on
and reporting back to
their peer group. He said
there's been a 25 percent
increase from last year in
the number of participants in Elevate.
(CommunityNEXT, said Federation's
Scott Kaufman, helped to create or
retain 64 jobs.)
JVS also runs networking groups and
Success Teams almost every day of the
week, and started an online jobs board
that has grown since it began in late
2007 with 25 job listings. Today,
parnossahworksdetroit.org has 250
postings and the site is constantly
updated. Unlike other job search sites,
resumes are vetted and directed to the
"The difference is for the employer:'
Blatt said. "If they list on careerbuilder.
corn or monster.com , they'll get hun-
dreds or thousands of applicants. When
someone attaches their resume to a job
posting, it stops at JVS. We're screening
the resume to make sure the job seeker
has the right skills."
Because of the social anxiety that
can grip longtime job seekers and the
shame associated with not having a
job, JVS has expanded its reach. With
a Jewish Federation grant, the agency
sends representatives to synagogues to
talk to people looking for work.
The agency also has two representa-
tives at Jewish Family Service, includ-
ing a financial literacy specialist, to
provide continuity to a person who
finds himself with an array of needs.
JVS has tried to eliminate the wait
for anybody who needs help, so job
Association, a program
of Jewish Family
Service that advises and
counsels families on
getting a mortgage loan
• 2008: 173 clients
• 2009: 264 clients
• 2010: 404 clients
(57 percent increase
Hebrew Free Loan:
• 2007: $1.2 million in
loans to 760 applicants
• 2011: $2.1 million in
loans to 1,200 applicants
seekers will immediately be directed to
a networking group to get started.
"People hide behind computers;
they don't want to talk to others," Blatt
said. "We do four different network-
ing groups a week to give job seekers
a way to get out of the house. We have
morning groups to encourage people
to get up and get dressed, to get some
normalcy to life."
Despite deep declines in giving, the
Federation has shifted more money to
the at-risk population, with allocations
hovering between $5 million and $6
million in each of the last three years.
To make up for a $1.4 million short-
fall last year, Federation drew on cam-
"Things have certainly stopped get-
ting worse," Kaufman said. "I think
in late 2009, people felt like the whole
thing was collapsing. There was a psy-
chology that the world's ending. That
was the local mood. I think people saw
that the world didn't end. Things are
different — a lot of people have seen
their assets decline, their wages decline
— but they're still in the game.
"Look, I don't know if you can ever
meet all the needs. I think we're meet-
ing the vast majority of needs in the
community, but we need to get every-
one on board, making meaningful
commitments of money and time." I J