Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guide to Employment and Power Packet

After you have completed the Orientation and the Career Workshop, the next thing is to complete some info for your job search. Depending on which office you go to they call it by a different name. They are similar and are required for certain workshops and to make an appointment with a career coach. I've seen these two different references their may be other names or forms at other offices, I don't know. If you recognize the process and heard it referred to by another name, please let us know by commenting here.

Common Items


There are a number of documents needed and reviewed, photo ID, SSN card, proof of citizenship, proof of residency, proof of income, etc. You may be asked for this information multiple times. Get a folder that straps shut so as you carry these important documents back and forth without loosing them.


You need an email account. If you have one, you will need to logon to it and get a printout showing you have it. This will be attached to your packet.

If you don't have one, they will help you create a free one.


You need to register on the ohiomeansjobs system which uses monster as the search engine. You will select a userid with a very strong password (mixed case, numeric, and special characters). You may sign in with a userid or the associated email address. You will need to print the page after you have logged in and attach it to your packet. See related post.

Labor Market Info

They mention the LMI site, but the ONET site is very much related and useful. See related post.

Employer Contacts

They are interested in details of your last 3 or 4 attempts at employment.

Resume and Cover Letters

You will be asked for sample resume and cover letters, depending on how good they are you may be referred to workshops to help you write or improve them.

Guide to Employment

There are several more checklists in this packet.

Getting Started is a checklist of various workshops where you can express your interest and a career coach can make recommendations (or requirements).

Know Yourself is a checklist of transferable skills where you can check off skills you enjoy and those that you do well.

Preparation for Employment Assistance discusses employment preferences and barriers.

Power Packet

There is a hands on lab where you logon and are helped to navigate the various web sites to complete the Power Packet.

Status: First Draft

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What is ecamspace.net?

Seriously help me out, I need to know. It seems redundant with the Employment Connection Online Enrollment (Second Square).

When I try to enroll I get a general error message. Working in the computer industry for 30 years, I'm usually not stumped by computer issues, frustrated sure, but not stumped.

It asks for your SSN, I put in just the nine digits, that didn't work, so I tried to add dashes, their wasn't enough room for the digits. I even tried just the last four digits, as they use in their other systems. The first password wasn't "hard", but it was 6-8 digits. I asked if there were any other requirements and got the now frequent response "I dunno". So I provided a "hard" password, typically that is at least 6 characters, capital and lower case and also numeric.

Still the same lame error message "-->We could not register you based on the information provided. Please review it."

I tried to get help at the resource center on a Friday afternoon one hour before closing and everyone was bailing out like rats leaving a drowning ship.

Seriously, give me a hint... Thanks... You can comment here (even anonymously without a blogger ID if you must).

Status: Rough Draft

State Job Matching

Ohio has just transitioned from its older SCOTI system (Sharing Career Opportunities ---) to the new Ohio Means Jobs system.

SCOTI is no longer available. It used to be at this site https://scoti.ohio.gov/scoti_lexs/. If you go there you will receive this message and be redirected to the new site.

Ohio's statewide job matching system has been developed into a more comprehensive tool found at OhioMeansJobs.com. If you are not automatically forwarded to the new site in the next few moments, click on the following link https://ohiomeansjobs.com, or copy and paste it in the address box of your web browser.

I mention SCOTI because you may hear it referred to and I want to let you know what its about.

The SCOTI replacement is https://ohiomeansjobs.com/omj/. Some Career Counselors will tell you to ignore SCOTI, this isn't good advice, if you hear a reference to SCOTI, just know that it has been replaced by OMJ and go there.

I have a newer post that delves into OMJ in detail.

Labor Info

There are two web sites used by Employment Connection in their career planning.



Information on this is used by your Career Coach. I have incomplete info on this and I'll update this post as I figure it out.

Status: Rough Draft


Here are some important links for the newly unemployed...

First Call for help here.  Need new Link

The Career Center Survival Guide here.

A west side web page has a handy list here.

The first day of the Career Workshop contains very good info. This may be available online under the Employment Connection Tools (first square, see previous post).

Do you know of others? Please comment here and share them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Employment Connection Online

The main Employment Connection Web site is: http://www.employmentconnection.us/
On this page Click Jobs (upper left).

On the job seeker page you will find two squares.

First square - Employment Connection online

When you click on this square you will go to http://empyraoneflow.com/cuyahoga/
From this page you will be asked to Login or Register Now
When you register it will ask for your name, address, phone, and to select a userid & password
Be sure to click "Print/Email Login Info" as proof that you are registered.
This does not appear to work in the Firefox browser, if you use Firefox, you can login in on Internet Explorer, update preferences and then Print Email Login Info.
You will then go through a "Pre Orientation Screen" that will end up at a Main Menu that has:
  • Interactive workshops/Sessions for you to complete
  • Completed documents you may want to view/print
  • My Recommendations
  • My Documents
  • My Preferences
Even though you justed Registered (not to be confused with Enrolled to be covered next), you should go to the bottom and Update your preferences to add a few more details on your phone numbers and where to leave messages and your email which was not requested when you first registered but is important. You will be required to answer "How did you hear about us?" again, leaving it blank will give you an error.

My Documents allows you to upload files to Employment Connection, presumably for them to view. This does not seem to be working well under Firefox. My intent is to upload background info on myself (how I became unemployed and the barriers to employment I have run into), my current resume, and a general cover letter.

This facility has a timeout, so be sure to login from a high speed link and stay focused on the updates you are doing.

Second square - Enroll

When you click on this square you will go to http://www.ccrsc.net/enroll.asp

This site asks your name and phone number, it does not have a userid or password.

Click Next and it shows a list of classes and allows you to enroll. Under Firefox it seemed to only display the first page of workshops and giving no way to navigate to the later pages.

Be aware that there are many complaints on people enrolling then the info disappears and the client can't see what they just enrolled in, and if they print it first, then even if they do print it, then when you show up for the enrolled class, they have no record of it. This may be partly do to paper sign up sheets that are maintained.

Click on jobseeker in the upper banner strip to go here
for an overview of Employment Connection Services

Employment Connection Services include:
  • Self-Directed Services
  • Orientation
  • Job Search and Placement Assistance
  • Workshops
  • Training

Go here to get the Workshop schedule...

Click on the hyperlink "Employment Connection Quarterly Calendar"

for Fall 2008 click here.
for Winter 2009 click here.

Click Employment Events to see important hiring opportunities here

Don't rely on the events list being complete, the very significant and well run jobfair at Cleveland State University was not listed, while the jobfair at Lakeland, a smaller college, fewer employers, in a neighboring county is listed.

Career Center

I'd supplement this list with the Career Center at the Maple Hts library branch. The Career Center has a large collection of books and has a large set of handouts and announcements. I haven't found these online yet, but their site http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/careerexpert.aspx includes other very useful information and workshops that are an alternative or supplement to those offered by Employment Connection.

Retro Web site

Wow, I had to do a double take. I was going through the large variety of web sites surrounding our local unemployment office. The United Labor Agency (ULA) runs the Employment Connection program.

When I first visited the ULA web site http://www.ula-ohio.org/ and navigated through its upper menu bar, I noticed that more than half was a placeholder and referred back to the home page. I looked at the source HTML code and noticed a bunch of updates in 2007.

I commented to a few ULA employees, partly in jest, but also somewhat serious, "Hey ya need some help on that web site, I'm unemployed, I could use the work".

So when I just looked at the site again tonight as I was trying to navigate their web site maze, I thought, "Oh, they heard me the site looks completely different". Then I noticed the Labor Day announcement. Hmm, in Oct 2008 the site was 2007, if they updated it in Nov 2008, why would they announce a labor day event. Well just a little more looking and I notice a © 2004.

What!!! They rolled out the 2007 web site in favor for the 2004 site. At least the header banner goes to real pages instead of all pointing to the home page like the 2007 site, but wouldn't it be nice to remove 4 year old announcements?

ULA, contact me, please. I need the work, and you sure need the help! Are you paying for your web maintenance? I'll beat their price and their service.

2012 Update:  Well it looks like this obsolete website is now offline, the domain is still used to email employees at the Employment Connection, but won't load as a website.  One would think that an organization this big that has a contract with the state of Ohio would have a functioning web site.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yikes, LinkedIn Security Hole

I was at the library and logged into my LinkedIn Profile. Someone closed by browser and I went back to my public profile and clicked sign in. I was surprised it went straight to my edit profile without asking me to sign in!

Hmmm, not nice. I will check with the LinkedIn people and try to post some kind of solution here.

In the mean time I did this. I clicked Tools, delete browser history, and then deleted cookies and passwords. I closed the browser, went back in, and it "forgot" my password and asked it form me again.

Jeez, be vigilant at public terminals.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Employment Connection

Our Unemployment Office in Cleveland, Ohio is called Employment Connection.

These specifics only directly bear on people in the Northeast Ohio area . For other's who came here from the net, this post will be a basis for you to ask questions of your own Unemployment Office.

Resource Center

This gives you access to computers, printer, fax, and phone. At my center there isn't a copier which is inconvenient, nor do they have wireless or Internet jacks for laptops. The job postings are what the local person thinks will be of interest, it in no way is comprehensive. More can be done with your own job search profiles.

To get access to the resources of the center you will need to register, attend a two day orientation and a four day workshop. Then you will be allowed to schedule a meeting with a career coach (on their business card, called a "case manager" by some of the staff).


The first day they breeze very quickly through the programs. You will be lucky to keep up. The second day is TABE testing which will determine what workshops may be required of you before you can access some of the services. See my other post on this test.

Career Workshop

The four day workshop covers the following topics
  1. Stress and Preparing for the Job Search
  2. Skills/Accomplishments
    Skills Review, 30 sec commercial, Skills Talk, Star Stories
  3. Job Market Skills
    LMI/Onet, Resumes, Cover Letter, Interview
  4. Self Marketing/Networking
    Professional Dress, Building Skills

Initial Career Coach Meeting

After completing the workshop, you should gather the following things to bring with you for the initial meeting.
If you can't show that you have a decent resume and cover letter than you may be required to attend these two workshops too. There are a variety of related workshops in this area. You should review them and your current resume and cover letter so you can discuss the relative advantages of which workshops would be most beneficial.





Status: Rough Draft - Last Updated 12/07/08 9 PM
Will be actively updating as I go through this program

Business Cards

You never know when you will have a networking opportunity and you want to be ready. The business card is the easiest way to deal with that. I print up business cards with the "Label" function of Microsoft Word to address several audiences.

Having a long career should be a benefit, but in reality it scares people away. "Oh gosh you are so experienced we don't have a job like that, you wouldn't be happy." Somehow the idea of going broke waiting for the perfect job turns 0ut to be a pretty unhappy experience too, but they don't always understand that. So I have become adept at the "dumbing down" process, something that is in stark contrast to someone who is fresh out of school and needs to "dream up" experience.

I carry four Business Cards...

Full Credentials

If I am meeting with someone and can risk putting forth my full credentials, then I have a business card with all of them. Name, contact, LinkedIn URL, and "Actively seeking..." on the front, major skills on the back.

Professional Job

Like the previous card but no LinkedIn URL (because it has most of my resume) and none of my niche major skills on the back. This way I don't get a rejection because they don't have a need for those niche skills.

Need a Job

Very basic, Name, Contact.


Sometimes you need to give someone info that's not on your card, or maybe you want some info from them and would rather not have it scribbled on a napkin that could get tossed by mistake. This is when you just take a page of business card stock, separate it into 10 blank cards and keep a few in your wallet.

What works best for you, well you decide. But one size doesn't fit all and targeting is the name of the game. So you decide.

Status: First Draft

Employment Testing

Our version of the Unemployment Office has several other programs that provide a job coach, a worker retraining program, etc. One of the early things they do is Employment Testing aimed at determining whether you can function at least at an eighth grade level. The idea is, you may have a diploma, and you either got pushed out of school or you forgot it all. The test isn't hard, but if you've been out of school for a few decades it may test you on some things you used to know very well, but haven't needed to use regularly and forgot. The following info is what our Unemployment Office uses, other employers or programs probably do something similar.

The following excerpt is from this site: http://www.studyguidezone.com/tabetest.htm


The Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) is a diagnostic test used to determine a person's skill levels and aptitudes. Many companies use in hiring, promotions, or for selecting employees for training programs for skilled positions. The TABE test is also used by public service agencies who are guiding people into adult education programs, such as getting a GED, or going to trade school, etc.

It tests skills and aptitudes in reading, math, and English, as you'll apply them in the workforce or classroom. Although there's really no such thing as passing or failing the TABE test, your score can determine your eligibility for many programs that can have a positive effect on your life situation, and a huge impact on your future income. It's important to be prepared for the test. You'll make arrangements to take the test through the school or agency that's requiring it. It takes about an hour and a half to complete. In the reading portion, you'll be tested on your vocabulary and reading comprehension. The English portion will test for spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, etc. The math section doesn't involve much complex math-there are some question on pre-algebra, but mostly it's about basic math, and understanding fractions, percentages, and the decimal system. If you're being required to take the TABE, it's probably because you're trying to improve your life in some manner. Doing well on the test can mean the difference between where you are now and a much brighter future.

Our Unemployment Office skips the English Language section on spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, etc Although its not a bad thing to look at for general self improvement reasons or in case someone else decides to test you on this.

This site had the link to the best TABE study guide I found here: http://www.studyguidezone.com/pdfs/tabeteststudyguide.pdf

It also has sample questions here: http://www.testprepreview.com/tabe_practice.htm
And if you need to refresh your memory, here are links to help here: http://www.testprepreview.com/tabelinks.htm

A little preparation can go a long way...