A New Job Resource for Massachusetts Women: The Professional Development Collaborative

author/source: Myrna Kesselman

WOmen-Graduate-ProgramsOne exciting aspect of being a woman today is the progress we are making as a group in many areas; challenging wage inequality, exposing sexual harassment, increasing female representation in government, and fostering greater equality in all aspects of our lives. One measure of this change is the fact that women are now found in greater numbers in college and graduate programs than men. This bodes well for the future of women, of families, of everyone.

One area still challenging for women is in the workplace. Here women are paid less, usually have less seniority due to family obligations, and, as a consequence, are the first laid off. When laid off, we receive less in unemployment compensation and often can’t afford to retrain because of the high cost of college, graduate, and certificate programs.  In 2010, the Professional Development Collaborative (PDC), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, was formed to address this retraining issue. Its goal is to create affordable skill-building courses to help women and men go back to work or advance in jobs without taking on debt.

The PDC offers short-term training in areas such as Project Management, Salesforce, Grant Writing, Fundraising, Agile/Scrum, Event Planning, and more (see www.PDCBoston.org). Over 2000 people have taken its courses with the training often becoming the key to reemployment.

One example was Mary, a laid-off office assistant who enrolled in PDC’s Event Planning course. After completing the course and adding it to her resume, she was recruited and hired by a local non-profit. Another example was Andrea who took PDC’s Introduction to Grant Writing course. She went home, completed a grant application the same day, and was awarded $3000 to attend a professional conference in her field.

PDC has also partnered with metro-Boston career centers, with networking groups like WIND Networking, and with members of area Chambers of Commerce. Women make up a good number of PDC’s volunteer staff and are in leadership positions as well.

Equal-Jobs-for-equal-payToday PDC’s mission of providing affordable training is needed more than ever.  Technology eliminates many jobs and simultaneously requires people trained in new technologies. We live in an era where jobs are increasingly temporary, where each job change requires new skills, and where the money to pay for training is hard to come by. Filling that need isn’t easy. To help provide PDC with the resources it needs to continue its work, it is bringing two of the best speakers in New England to Boston for evening fundraisers on August 9 and August 16, at the Marriott Residence Inn, 570 Arsenal Street Watertown, MA

On August 9, Lauren Mackler, a renowned coach, speaker, CNN commentator and author of the international bestseller, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life, will speak on the topic of “The Work You’re Born to Do”.  She believes many people end up in dissatisfying jobs because they never learned how to identify the work that leverages their innate skills, strengths, and passions, bringing a sense of purpose to their lives. Her presentation teaches how to unearth your innate strengths and passions, using this knowledge to identify your ideal career and offering suggestions on how to turn this new vision into reality. People who have heard her speak on this topic say Lauren leaves them inspired and motivated.

PDC’s August 16th speaker is John Chapin, a motivational speaker who began his life labeled “learning disabled” and went on to become a number one sales representative in three industries. John’s topic is “How to Get Motivated Regardless of Circumstances”, a presentation that will activate even the most discouraged job seeker or burned out employee.

His talk includes such key Success Principles as how to instantly shift from negative to positive thoughts; the top character traits to keep you motivated; the most powerful force for positive motivation; how to eliminate two major roadblocks to staying positive; and the key belief that will give you complete control of your destiny. Listeners say that John’s message has literally turned their life around, and we hope he has the same effect on you.

You can register for these events at www.PDCBoston.org. Join us and support the PDC and its work helping people grow their skills while helping employers find qualified staff.

Hope to see you there.

Myrna Kesselman is a private Career Counselor living in Belmont, MA.