‘Community Connection’ to offer unemployed advice, hope

Shirley Martin-Smith, owner of an Adecco staffing franchise in Lawrence and president of Martin-Smith Personnel Services, says graduates and other job seekers should embrace the importance of networking, seek assistance from employment professionals, and take care to make real connections when sending in employment applications and resumes.

May 17, 2009


Make the Connection

Professionals or businesses interested in helping with Community Career Connection — either by providing advice or participating as an employer in the event’s job fair — may contact Lori MacDonald at Adecco: 842-1515 or

Job seekers soon will get a chance to brush up their search skills during a community event led by the people who often do the hiring.

Community Career Connection is designed to help the area’s unemployed succeed in a competitive job-seeking environment, and otherwise prepare for an eventual economic turnaround.

Organizers plan to help participants improve their resumes, hone their interviewing skills, dress appropriately on a budget and find ways to connect with potential employers who might offer the best chances of extending job offers.

“We’re hoping to be very accessible for people who have a lot of questions and never get to the people they want to talk to,” said Shirley Martin-Smith, an organizer who also is owner of an Adecco employment franchise in Lawrence and president of Martin-Smith Personnel Services. “We’re just a bunch of businesspeople and professionals who really want to help people succeed in finding their next job.”

The event, which will be free and open to the public, is set for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 16 at Pinnacle Career Institute, 1601 W. 23rd St., Suite 200 in Lawrence. Sponsors include the Jayhawk Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, Prescription Solutions, Career Advantage and Adecco.

Organizers already have lined up human resources managers, staffing professionals and others experienced in job searches and employers’ needs to be available to assist job seekers with their search efforts. Among the event’s planned offerings:

• A job fair, giving employers an opportunity to share information about themselves and discuss current job openings or — if none currently exist — expected ones once the economy rebounds.

• Dressing for Success, a workshop to help people prepare proper attire for job interviews. Area consignment shops will provide guidance on how to put together a professional wardrobe on a shoestring budget.

• A seminar on financial planning, including information about how to deal with benefits both during a layoff and upon returning to work.

l • A workshop on managing stress while unemployed. Representatives from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center will discuss the importance of eating well and exercising during a job search.

Also included will be workshops and other information for writing cover letters, compiling resumes, preparing for interviews and embracing the values of networking.

The event grew out of a discussion Martin-Smith had in February with Mike Machell, a Lawrence resident who leads the human relations department at Prescription Solutions in Overland Park, about the rising number of layoffs occurring in Lawrence and surrounding area.

They put the word out to colleagues, and soon volunteers were signing on for an event that won’t cost anything to conduct — all services, materials and personnel involvement are being donated — but will be expected to pay off well in the future, both for job seekers and the communities they live in.

“Having layoffs is rare in Lawrence,” said Martin-Smith, a former mayor. “It just felt like this city needs to do something, to say to people who have been laid off, ‘We understand and we want to help.’ ”

— Transportation reporter Mark Fagan also has a Wheel Genius blog. Follow WheelGenius at


Frank A Janzen 9 years ago

What about Manpower and the other temp agencies? Why weren't they invited? Is this just a Shirley Martin-Smith event, with her round-up of local agencies?

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