Career Pathways Program Returns!

Would you like to go back to school for more career skills training, but you just can’t afford it?

Three years ago, we wrote a blogpost about the Urban League’s Career Pathways Program, an innovative program that provided participants funding for college and vocational school. Today, we are pleased to announce the return of the Career Pathways Program!

Who’s doing it?

The Career Pathways Program is sponsored by the Office of Workforce Development, a department of the Urban League of Louisiana, which is the local chapter of the nonprofit National Urban League.

What help do they offer?

  • Tuition assistance towards an associate’s degree or vocational certification from Baton Rouge Community College or a local accredited vocational school.
  • Meetings with a personal case manager to help you determine your career path and monitor your progress during the schooling.
  • In-depth job skills training on subjects like resume writing and job interviews to help you find a job in your new field once you graduate.

What kinds of degrees do they help with?

The program is only available for degrees/certifications in high-demand industries, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Computer & Information Technology
  • NCCER Construction
  • Customer Service
  • Retail

How do I register and qualify?

The Baton Rouge office is currently accepting applicants. To register, you can:

  • Pre-apply online at www.urbanleaguela.org/strive
  • Call (225) 831-1501
  • Visit them at 445 N. 12th St. in downtown Baton Rouge.

To qualify, you will need to:

  • Provide the following documentation: a state-issued ID, your Social Security card, your birth certificate, proof of residence, and proof of income.
  • Take a TABE assessment, which Urban League will provide.
  • Agree to complete 4 weeks of career readiness skills training at the Urban League office.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Who’s Hiring During the Pandemic

This is a uniquely challenging time to search for a job. Concerns over COVID-19 have shuttered many businesses, and large numbers of people have been temporarily or permanently laid off. Given this uncertainty, most companies are slowing down hiring – but not all. Certain fields are growing quickly in response to consumer demand during the outbreak, including:

  • Hospitals and Medical Centers: Locally, this includes Our Lady of the Lake, Baton Rouge General, and Ochsner, all of whom are hiring both medical and non-medical staff.
  • Janitorial Companies: Janicare, Janiking, and Aramark are among those hiring locally.
  • Grocery Stores: This will include national chains like Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Albertson’s, plus local chains such as Rouse’s and Associated Grocers.
  • Pharmacies: Walgreens and CVS, as well as smaller local pharmacies, will need more employees.
  • Home Repair Stores: Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have been categorized as essential stores that will remain open throughout the crisis, and both are hiring.
  • Delivery Services: Amazon is having explosive growth due to online ordering. Food delivery services such as Waitr, UberEats, and GrubHub also need staff to keep up with demand. And grocery delivery services such as Shipt and Postmates are rapidly growing.
  • Transportation Services: For non-CDL drivers, check FedEx, UPS, and the Post Office. For CDL drivers, there are a variety of companies to choose from, so your best bet may be an aggregate job search website such as Indeed.

Additionally, you could use this time as an opportunity for some entrepreneurship. Think creatively about what services you could sell. Could you offer to provide lawn care, handyman services, housecleaning, cooking, or grocery pickup for your community? Could you babysit neighbors’ children while the parents are at work? Sign up as an online tutor? Craft items to sell on Etsy? Your skills and hobbies could help you fill in the cracks financially.

We wish you luck with your job search through this challenging time. As always, feel free to call the Career Center at 225-231-3733 for answers to your job search questions.

Written by Cynthia Payton and Lynnette Lee

Using Resume Templates When You Don’t Have MS Word

Most resume templates – including the Career Center’s – are in Microsoft Word format. This is no problem for Career Center patrons who come in to our department, as we have Microsoft Word on all of our computers. But many of our patrons do not have Microsoft Word on their home computers, because it is expensive software. So what can you do if you want to work on your resume at home and do not have Microsoft Word?

  • Option 1: If you have a Mac but do not have Office for Mac, you probably have Pages.
    See if the resume template you wish to use can be downloaded as a Rich Text Format (RTF). Pages can easily import and export files in RTF. If not, Pages can also import and export files in Word format, as explained here.
  • Option 2: You can use LibreOffice.
    This is a free downloadable application which is very similar to Microsoft Office. It can run on Windows *or* Mac *or* Linux. LibreOffice can read files in Word or Rich Text Format. Be aware that LibreWriter by default saves files in Open Document Text (ODT)format. You will need to manually tell it to save files in Word format.
  • Option 3: You can work on your resume in Google Docs format.
    You can use Google Docs to work on your resume in Windows or Mac or Linux. All you need is a web browser and a gmail account. You can open an MS Word file in Google Docs, or use one of the resume templates available directly through Google Docs.

If none of these options appeal to you, you are always welcome to use the computers at your local library to work on your resume. Or, of course, come visit us in the Career Center.

Written by Richard Wright

Cool Careers: Video Production and Radio Broadcasting

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar on careers in radio broadcasting and video production. Our guest speakers were Stuart Poulton of Stuart Poulton Productions and Latangela Sherman of Cumulus Media Radio. For those who missed it, here are the main takeaways:

Video Production

Video production is the process of producing video content. It is the equivalent of filmmaking, but with images recorded digitally instead of on film stock. There are three stages of video production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production is the process in which things are set up in preparation for filming – the location, timing, script, etc..  The initial production phase is where the filming takes place. Lastly, post-production is where the editing of a video takes place. This could include changes to color, editing of scenes, voice overs and graphics.

How do I Get Started in this field?

No formal training is needed, but you will need to learn the necessary skills through hands-on experience. Get practice by creating your own videos. Most smartphones have video capabilities. Look for video editing apps that will help you polish your product. You can also upload your videos to Youtube to be seen by the world.

If you truly have a passion to get into this profession, seek out internships to help you gain critical experience, knowledge, and skills. There are also video production classes at community colleges and universities.

What equipment do I need?

The equipment needed is anything that can capture video and sound. To do more advanced things, you would need the proper software and equipment for editing. The cost can be anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. More important than equipment is a portfolio of your work. You will need to prove that you have experience and a passion for video production. This will also show off your many talents and expertise.

How much will I Make?

As of Jul 25, 2019, the average annual pay for a Video Producer in the United States is around $55,855 a year. In major studios or production companies, you may earn up to $87,500 and as low as $21,500.

Radio Broadcasting

Do people still listen to the local radio in a world where we now have satellite radio and the internet? The answer is yes! Do people only listen to the radio for music? That is a definite no. The local radio is needed not for just entertainment, but for information and local events that only pertain to the area you live in. The radio is crucial as a free resource which is easy for everyone to access.

Jobs in Radio Broadcasting

There are a number of positions both on the air and in the background, including:

  • Sports Broadcaster/Announcer Radio Show Host
  • Disc Jockey
  • Radio News Reporter
  • TV News Reporter
  • TV News Anchor Person
  • Script Writer
  • Airtime Sales
  • Sound and Audio Technician
  • Lawyer (for legal and copyright issues)

Education

A degree in broadcasting, combined with hands-on experience working in radio, will make you an attractive candidate in this field. Local universities and various community colleges offer a degree in Mass Communication with concentrations in Radio Broadcasting, including LSU, Southern, and BRCC. There are also many internships offered locally with Cumulus Media.

Pay

The salary range for broadcasting careers vary greatly. Those working in a small town for radio station can be as little as $15000-$25,000 per year. Those in bigger markets can make from $45,000 to $90,000 per year. This is why it is important to have a versatile background covering all aspects in the field. If you have this experience, then there is more potential for growth.

Written by Alvin Coleman

Cool Careers: Videogame Design

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar about careers in the video game industry, featuring guest speakers from the gaming company Electronic Arts (EA). Here are the main takeaways from that seminar:

Jobs in the Industry

  • Game Designers: come up with the concepts that eventually become video game productions. Collaborate with other members of the development team including artists, programmers, and audio engineers. A computer science background is required for this position.
  • Programmers: create the code that converts game designs into instructions video game systems can read to make everything function. A computer science background is required for this position.
  • Animators:  make the graphics come to life in a video game.
  • Artists: draw characters, scenery, and box art.
  • Audio Engineers: create/engineer sounds which add depth to the gameplay and atmosphere.
  • Voice actors: make a game come to life by voicing characters and narration, adding dramatic value to help in storytelling. Typically a background in voice-over work or acting is required.
  • Writers and editors: create the story of a game, and proofread all grammatical errors. A degree in English is usually required.
  • Lawyers: deal with copyright, censorship, and distribution rights to make sure everything with the release of a game is legally compliant. Requires a law degree.
  • Video Game Testers: test video games to detect bugs and errors in different levels of the game. Work alongside game designers and programmers to ensure that a game works flawlessly before it is released. Education needed for this is a high school diploma with a keen eye for spotting errors and following directions.

Local Job Opportunities

The easiest way to enter into the industry through EA would be the role of a video game tester. Electronic Arts has a testing center in Baton Rouge on LSU’s campus. They have opportunities for both part-time and full-time positions. You must be 17 years of age with a high school diploma, or equivalent. The presenters of the seminar actually started off as videogame testers and have moved up to receivers and EA brand ambassadors.

Pay

The video game industry has a wide range of salaries. Programmers make between $44,000 to $80,000 a year. Other non-technical jobs, such as customer service representatives, could make up to $35,000 a year.  Videogame testers can expect to start out at $11.00 an hour.

Final Thought

The video game industry is an exciting field that is constantly growing. If you are a person who loves videogames, and would like to work on doing something that you love, then this would be an excellent field to look into. EA has plenty of information listed on their website.

Written by Alvin Coleman