Helping people find work in a depressed economy is challenging, but Max Douge has racked up a number of success stories in the line of duty.
Douge, Frederick County Workforce Services business and employment consultant, works on a team that assists the business community with workforce needs by marketing open positions, recruiting applicants, prescreening candidates and providing assessments.
"The tough economy makes our work challenging," Douge said. "Even if there were a job for every unemployed person, there wouldn't be a skills match for every job. However, it is a great time for our businesses to find great talent."
Since Jan. 1, 159 businesses have become part of FrederickWORKS One Job at a Time initiative, representing 976 jobs either filled or about to be filled, Douge said.
During fiscal 2011, Workforce Services averaged more than 100 new customers a week at its Spectrum Drive office in Frederick, and more than 6,500 customers signed up for the agency's services last year. It documented more than 4,400 job postings and helped businesses with 397 customized recruitment activities; 1,965 people were documented as receiving a job, Douge said.
"The focus of my job, and that of our office, is to help our job-seeking customers become the most competitive candidates they can be to fill those jobs," Douge said.
A number of business owners are pleased with the agency.
Workforce Services is Jennifer Smullen's first "go-to" when she needs to fill positions at Corporate Exposure, her promotional products and corporate gifts and awards business in downtown Frederick, she said.
Smullen said she has used Workforce Services several times.
"Not only do they advertise my positions for free, they would pre-screen candidates and forward the applications they feel are suitable for me," she said.
"The fact that it's a service to the community and it's free is just amazing."
When he worked with Spherion Staffing, Keith Kennedy said Workforce Services helped him fill positions.
"They basically took the 'what if,' the guesswork out of the job-hunting process," Kennedy said. "They offer a lot of tutoring to candidates.
"A lot of people give up looking for work and stay home. This place gives them hope," said Kennedy, who now works for himself, operating No Warriors Left Behind, a veterans employment business.
"When I got out of the military, I came here for help. This place offers a lot of networking opportunity as well," he said.
The Frederick County job scene is slowly improving with traditional positions in health care, retail, information technology, education and more, and new opportunities exist in developing industries, such as biotechnology and cybersecurity, Douge said.
"The job market still favors employers, so it's critical for job seekers to present themselves in the best possible way to keep up with their competition," Douge said. "Job seekers should find ways to upgrade their skills through training and/or volunteering, and to always look for networking opportunities.
"The old adage -- 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' -- plays a key role in people getting jobs."
The job market has occasionally made his job challenging, but Douge said the people and customers he works with have made his job a great experience.
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