Carol — Sounding Board. Advocate. Cheerleader.
I started my career as a job counselor in DC in 1983. I worked for a nonprofit that provided free job placement assistance, and I helped people find jobs. I fell in love with the work. It’s a job that is never the same, and it is so creative—fitting together all the pieces to find the right employer and right job for an applicant.
In 2012, I founded Crossroads Jobs to help people in Loudoun find employment. We operated the first few years as an all-volunteer organization. Donors covered our rent and overhead expenses. But, we didn’t have a paid staff until the fall of 2016. I continue to serve as Director and Job Counselor, but we have added a bilingual counselor to our staff so we can offer programs in English and Spanish. We also have 12 amazing volunteers working in various capacities.
Since our founding in 2012, we have placed more than 250 people into jobs. Crossroads is so much like a traditional employment agency—but with many added touches. We work on resumes, match candidates with employers looking for workers, and conduct mandatory week-long orientation sessions. Our applicants are not affluent. They face tough challenges to staying employed: housing, childcare, transportation, jail time. Many are dealing with disabilities.
The climate is so different now than when I started 30 years ago. Back then, we had no computers. We cold-called on companies and built relationships to create a roster of potential employers. The better the relationship with a company, the better we could help them find the right people. Now, everything is done online, and we use SalesForce to house our database. But, it is still hard to hire a stranger sight unseen. So the face-to-face relationships with local businesses is still an important factor. We continue to work hard to build and maintain relationships with local businesses.
Our applicants are my heroes. They have to work so hard to stay positive and to get and keep a job. We become their sounding board, their advocates, and their cheerleaders. It is our mission to help them be successful; we take it very personally. It is our way to help End the Need in Loudoun.