On National Career Development Day (Wednesday), in the midst of National Career Development Week (Nov. 12-16) during National Career Development Month (November), we thought it might make sense to chat with a plumber… Just seeing if you were paying attention out there. No, actually, we needed to talk to a career counselor. And here at JVS, where we operate two full-service WorkSource Centers, we happen to know a few of those.
In fact, a few short blocks from where these words are being typed sits one of our veteran career counselors, Rachelle Cohn-Schneider, who has been in the career development field for more than 20 years including the last 12 at JVS. She also works part-time doing, yes, career counseling at Santa Monica College where she also teaches.
Cohn-Schneider graduated from the same Masters program in counseling at California State University, Northridge as JVS COO Claudia Finkel, although Cohn-Schneider followed a slightly different path to JVS. While doing an internship at Los Angeles Pierce College, Cohn-Schneider found herself drawn to the community college population. She ended up working at Pierce for 10 years doing career counseling, case management.
Concurrently, Cohn-Schneider had made a series of calls for informational interviews to organizations around the city inquiring about the possibility of doing in-house career counseling. She ended up at the Los Angeles Times, in the publication’s training and development department for 10 years. Cohn-Schneider split her time between Pierce College and the Times, eventually leaving Pierce for a similar position at Santa Monica College. After leaving the Times, she saw Finkel at a conference and was encouraged to come over to JVS.
“The work has changed a lot since I got into doing this,” says Cohn-Schneider who, over the years, has added technology and social media to her career-counseling toolbox. “When I was young and choosing my career, I thought, ‘I like people. I want to help people in the simplest form.’ Daily, I’m reminded that I make a difference in the lives of many people on a regular basis, and there’s nothing better than that.”
People crave variety in their work. This is exactly what Cohn-Schneider has in her profession where every client is a “different project, a different story.” The stories are ever evolving as we work through the recession and clients are taking on different characteristics and personalities. Indeed, Cohn-Schneider now finds herself equal parts job coach as career counselor.
One thing that hasn’t changed much: the emotions of people who come to JVS looking for help.
“Often people come in here lost, scared and even angry for any number of reasons. There are a lot of emotions,” she said. “One of the things I think I’m really good at giving people a place to feel safe and trusted and have some resources they can leave with.”
“I’m giving people a safety net, but I also have to have knowledge of our resources. Being here as a sounding board isn’t enough,” she adds. “JVS provides a lot of great resources that I can share. People leave here feeling really hopeful, and although I don’t do placement, I’m able to give people lot of hope for their future.”
Job-seekers can access all of JVS services at our two WorkSource Centers, 57575 Wilshire Blvd. Promenade 3 in West Hollywood (323) 904-4900 and at 13160 Mindinao Way, #240, Marina del Rey (310) 309-6000.