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Lehigh Job-Link helps unemployed

July 11, 2012
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Patrice Lincifort, 39, a newcomer to Lehigh from Fort Myers, is looking for a full-time job and wants to leave a part-time job where he makes very little money.

Today, he has asked for help from Wernie Jeremie, a Job-Link coordinator with Goodwill's Lehigh Acres Job-Link Center.

"We've been providing services to help those who are looking for a job since January," said Jeremie, who also is a Lehigh Acres resident. Her office is at 201 Plaza Drive in the offices of Lehigh Community Services.

Article Photos

Wernie Jeremie

She's there five days a week and now with word of mouth spreading the news that the unemployed can get personal help in Lehigh, more people are asking for an appointment.

On this particular day, Patrice Lincifort spent 90 minutes with Jeremie who worked with him applying for a job online at Carmax, a new firm on Colonial Blvd. and two other sites.

Lincifort had to fill out a lengthy form online. He examined each question and if he needed help, he would ask Jeremie, and she would offer suggestions.

Lincifort is from Haiti, and is in the U.S. on a Visa. He wants to go back to school and is interested in the healthcare field. But after attending classes, due to his scheduling at a part-time job, he has had to put the schooling on hold, at least for the time being.

"I want to improve my English skills and be able to become a citizen of the U.S. one day. I have to renew my Visa each year," Lincifort said.

He speaks French, Creole and English, the latter being the language he is trying to master, much with the help of his girlfriend in Lehigh and his friends.

The online list of questions for Carmax contained several questions on 10 computerized pages and each question took a minute or so to fill out since the firm was designed to learn all the company can about the job applicant.

In addition, he applied to two other firms that may be looking for employees to fill jobs.

Lincifort says he knows the economy is at hopefully its bottom in the U.S. and that he came to the U.S. at a time when jobs are hard to find, but back in Haiti, he said jobs are almost impossible to find. He said more than 35 percent of the residents of Haiti want to come to the U.S. just to find a job to support themselves and their families.

He is divorced and has two children in Haiti and wants to earn money to help support them, he said.

If he can find the right job, he may be able to return to school to become a member of the medical community. But without much work, Lincifort says it is hard to pay the tuition and he would love to be considered for a scholarship, but he is not sure where to go to apply for one.

He has been in the U.S. for two years and says he isn't ready to give up and believes he has the skills in different areas to get a good job with good pay.

"I will just keep trying," he said.

Job-Link Center Coordinator Wernie Jeremie says she thinks Linciford is a good candidate for a full-time job.

"He has a good personality and I think he will do well with a company," she said. "He is quickly learning better English skills."

Job-Link Centers can do more than just help you find a job. Coordinators, such as Jeremie, can connect you with the right people to get you the need you need.

In addition, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida builds lives, families, and communities, one job at a time by helping people with disabilities and other barriers to employment discover and develop their full potential through career development services, according to a flyer passed out to those seeking employment.

Jeremie said Goodwill Industries is the nation's largest non-profit provider of employment services and has interests in building families.

She helps those looking for a job with resume preparation, interviewing skills, and access to online employment opportunities.

"I keep in touch with those who come here to seek help. In two weeks, I will be checking with Patrice to see if he has heard word or has had an interview or has applied at other places. If they need more help from us, they may return at any time and there is no charge for this service.

"I also do follow-ups on a monthly basis, too, to see how they are doing with a job or have one," she added.

For those who are looking for a job and could use the free services provided by Goodwill Industries and Jeremie, they should call for an appointment at 239-369-5818 or send a fax to 239-368-4242.

There are several other Job-Link locations all over Southwest Florida.

Job-Link is a partner with United Way and also Lehigh Community Services in Lehigh.

In many cases, Goodwill can also perform a vocational evaluation to help discover your interests, aptitudes, abilities, and vocational potential and use the results to recommend career choices.

"Since we have opened our office in the Lehigh Social Services Center, we have seen more and more jobless people come and ask for help. But because we are new, the word has not gotten completely out.

"We are here to help and we encourage anyone to call and make an appointment. If you know someone looking for a job, tell them about our services," Jeremie said.



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