A group of local young professionals are working to dispel the notion that the Jamestown area has nothing to offer its residents in the way of jobs.
GREATer Jamestown Jobs, an action team comprised of 11 professionals in the private and public sector, is making efforts at bridging the gap between local employers and young, motivated workers in the surrounding community.
Established in early 2013 by the Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission, GREATer Jamestown Jobs was formulated as a means of combating "brain drain" in the Jamestown area through networking, and helping to find a good fit between eager young professionals and the businesses that seek them. According to Jacqueline Chiarot, a GREATer Jamestown Jobs member who works as regional director for Congressman Tom Reed's office, the initiative provides services that are intended to be mutually beneficial to employees and employers alike.
Members of the GREATer Jamestown Jobs action team discuss strategies for connecting young professionals to local employers in order to bolster Jamestown’s workforce. Pictured, from left, are: Megan Herman, of Jamestown Savings Bank; Frank Besse, of Jamestown Renaissance Corporation; Kris Sellstrom, of Jamestown BPU; Simone Mullinax, instructor and coordinator of communication at Jamestown Community College; and Jacqueline Chiarot, regional director for Congressman Tom Reed’s office.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"Our goal is really to bring young people back to this area, and it's to give business owners an outlet to find young professionals," Chiarot said. "We so often hear from people that there are no jobs in Jamestown, and we hear from business owners that they have jobs available but there are no people or qualified candidates."
GREATer Jamestown Jobs has set its sights largely on networking through social media sites to connect the two entities. Frank Besse, of Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, said Facebook has proved useful in this endeavor.
"Facebook has been really great because it pushes stuff to your feed, whether or not you're actually looking for something," Besse said. "And maybe you're not really looking for that type of job, but you know somebody who is. And so, all of a sudden, you have other people involved with helping other people find jobs. So, it's really about using this social media community to help make these connections and make the job market more efficient."
"We so often hear from people that there are no jobs in Jamestown, and we hear from business owners that they have jobs available but there are no people or qualified candidates."
GREATer Jamestown Jobs member
In order to maintain a community presence and provide others with in-person networking opportunities, GREATer Jamestown Jobs has been in the habit of hosting monthly mixers as a way for young professionals to meet each through social gatherings.
"Another thing we often hear is that there's nothing to do in Jamestown; so we wanted to kind of nix that attitude, and the way we do it is to get together and have a really good time," Chiarot said.
Simone Mullinax, an Oklahoma native who now works as an instructor and coordinator of communication at Jamestown Community College, said the other members of GREATer Jamestown Jobs provided her with a healthy outlook on the Jamestown area upon relocation for her job with JCC.
"One thing that's important about this group is that the people in it are invested in the community in the sense that they want to see Jamestown grow and flourish," Mullinax said.
See ACTION TEAM, Page B3
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"And that has to do with bringing in and keeping young professionals, but also kind of having this positive attitude when it comes to doing things and getting others involved in doing things in Jamestown," Mullinax continued.
In addition to Chiarot, Besse and Mullinax, GREATer Jamestown Jobs also includes the membership of: Megan Herman, of Jamestown Savings Bank; Shane Uber, a local attorney; J. Bryce Ireland, of J. Edward's Insurance Agency; Blake Tarana, of Tim Hortons; Kate Piazza, of Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County; Hanna Soffel Briggs, of ERA Team VP; Kris Sellstrom, of Jamestown BPU; and Laura Bernsohn, a city of Jamestown employee.
GREATer Jamestown Jobs has been reaching out to local businesses, making them aware that they can share any job openings with the action team. Any openings it receives from businesses, as well announcements for upcoming mixers and events, are posted to its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/GreaterJamestownJobs. Employers are invited to post openings directly to the page, or can email GREATer Jamestown Jobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.