Career-counseling students help homeless and low-income individuals with resumes

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Career counseling students at Project Homeless ConnectDuring this past spring break, Professor of Counseling Rebecca Toporek and students in the career counseling specialization provided employment and resume counseling for participants at Project Homeless Connect (PHC). PHC allows all the many citywide resources to come together on one platform and service the city’s many homeless and low-income individuals.

One of the many resources offered at this event is employment, where City and County Workforce Department partner up with local agencies and institutions to extend job opportunities, vocational training programs, job coaching and EDD services. Seven years ago, Toporek partnered with the City and County Workforce Department to create the On the Spot Resume Service staffed by Toporek and the advanced career counseling students from SF State’s Department of Counseling. This functions as service learning, increasing knowledge and awareness regarding homelessness. Perhaps more importantly, this is an opportunity to provide concrete, tangible way to facilitate PHC participants in realizing and articulating their strengths and goals related to employment. At the most recent event, March 23, 2017, Toporek and her students were again able to provide this service.

After this most recent event, Alfredo Sanchez, Toporek’s Workforce Development partner, said, “Having watched the faces of those that come and receive your help with a resume and leave feeling more hopeful and confident in their job searches moving forward has been truly a joy. The way [students] are prepped and coached on how to handle and accommodate each individual participant and be sensitive to their many challenges has been commendable. Patience is not something you can teach or suddenly incorporate in your DNA, either you have it or you do not and you and your group of volunteers have demonstrated that gift when showing and helping clients manufacture their resumes.”

Last month, PHC provided services for 1500 participants, and the employment area alone assisted almost 100 of those participants. As one of the employment services available, the On-the-Spot Resume service provided in-depth employment counseling for 12 individuals. Many thanks to the students who participated in the March event (pictured above): Jasmine Kamariotis, Jessie Carlisle, Floriberto Javier Garcia, Arlette Marcial-Santana, Kelvin Kow-Weng Cheah, Rocio Aguilar and Patrice Reed-Fort.

Toporek has been volunteering for PHC for more than 10 years, and over that time, more than 40 career counseling graduate students have been trained and provided On-the-Spot Resume and employment services through the project.