IMPACT: Working together to get back to work

  • Tags: College Publication | Newsletter
Published 12/18/2019
Linda Brubaker, career transitions specialist, who runs workshops and does coaching for individuals during their job search.

Linda Brubaker, career transitions specialist, who runs workshops and does coaching for individuals during their job search.

“I didn't know ECC did this” is a common phrase heard in the Workforce Development Office. “This” refers to the free resources available to any community member who asks for job search assistance at Elgin Community College.

Résumé writing, basic computer classes, networking and personal marketing workshops, and one-on-one coaching are offered at no cost to the job seeker. Employment Transitions Coordinator Linda Brubaker believes individual coaching is the biggest key to finding success.

“My job is to identify someone's transferable skills, strengths, and interests. Then I point them in the right direction,” said Brubaker. “Sometimes, it is a new direction.”

In addition to assessing a client's current skills, Brubaker pinpoints any skill deficits that can hinder job placement. The client is connected with resources to address these gaps, which may include a course or certificate at ECC or tapping into free resources in the community or online.

For Donna De La Fuente, being laid off after 30 years in the telecommunications industry meant the opportunity to take her project management skills to the healthcare industry. “A job search or career change when you are middle-aged is tough,” said De La Fuente. “And the infrastructure around looking for a job is new and intimidating.”

De La Fuente received help navigating the online application process, practicing for video interviews, and framing her résumé for her new goal. Brubaker also suggested taking online classes to get familiar with medical terminology and HIPAA regulations, as well as volunteering at a hospital to gain exposure to the environment.

When Ric Hansen lost his job in marketing and communications after 25 years, he followed a friend to ECC's Workforce Development Office. Hansen was both “surprised and impressed” by the support. That the services are free was a welcome revelation.

Hansen met with Brubaker and began attending weekly lunchtime sessions with others in the same situation. Now re-employed in the marketing field, Hansen encourages other job seekers to take advantage of the workforce development program.

“I found it very helpful to meet with people in a similar position,” said Hansen. “It's the best [service] in the area. Why go it alone when you can reach out to others who can help you?”

By assisting career changers and job seekers, Elgin Community College supports the economic health of our district. In 2018, 68 people found employment with the help of workforce development, which translated to $2.4 million in annualized salaries. As of October 2019, 104 individuals found jobs, putting over $5.42 million in earnings into the community.

Anyone who is a resident of District 509 and seeking career help is welcome to visit the Workforce Development Office. To learn more about workforce development, visit or call 847-214-6901.