Learning from Practice: The Job Developer’s Resource Network

If one thinks of an Employment Services Centre in terms of a business model, then Job Developers can be thought of as the Sales and Marketing Team.

Job Developers create the opportunities that help job seekers find and retain employment, especially those facing employment barriers. It is a challenging job. Job Developers have to know about program supports and labour market realities. Their skills include the ability to market their clients to employers and supporting their clients to make good choices and carry out the tasks required to do the work. They must also locate and cultivate relationships with employers, helping their employer pool find the right workers, including workers whose skills may not be readily apparent.

It is not surprising that job developers feel a kinship with others who do the same work and understand the challenges. Four years ago, a group of job developers agreed that the best way to do their jobs would involve helping each other. They began to meet and work collaboratively, sharing job leads and other kinds of support, calling themselves the Job Developers Resource Network, or JDRN. Being part of a network where they could share professional and practical support made a lot of sense, even if it meant sharing valuable job leads.

They soon discovered that not only was the network a resource for Job Developers, but it could also be a benefit to employers, providing a way for them to share their recruitment needs and help Job Developers learn about their companies and workplace environments. And, of course, if it helped engage employers, it couldn’t help but be a boon for job seekers.

It’s a ‘win-win’ for sure, and very much an idea whose time had come.