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EaRN Co-Founder Panelist on Dept of Labor May 24 National Webcast


Ken Soper, Co-Founder of EaRN Employment and Resource Network based in West Michigan (, will appear as a panelist in Washington DC on Tuesday, May 24th live webcast, “Job Clubs & Employment Ministries: On the Front Lines of Getting Americans Back to Work”, by invitation from U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Secretary Hilda L. Solis.  The webcast has been coordinated by USDOL’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  The webcast runs 1:30pm to 3:00pm – EST.  Link:


EaRN Employment and Resource Network is an innovative, non-denominational Christian, resource-rich ministry through churches, becoming a growing network helping people find meaningful work and stay employable while strengthening their faith.  EaRN links job seekers to volunteer congregants as coaches and mentors for support, encouragement, and spiritual nurture one-on-one, and through support groups and cutting-edge career and work search web-based resources during times of career and employment transition.  EaRN is a 501c3 non-profit organization co-founded by Frank Bettig, Bruce Hakim, and Ken Soper.


Webcast panelist Ken is a National Board of Certified Counselors National Certified Counselor (N.C.C.) and National Certified Career Counselor (N.C.C.C.), one of just 800 people worldwide with both of these certifications.  He is also a Master Career Counselor, one of the first world-wide to be recognized for his expertise and skills by the National Career Development Association, the premier professional association for career counseling and coaching.  He's a graduate of Richard Bolles’ internationally acclaimed “Life/Work Planning Workshop”, and one of the career counselors from North America listed annually in the resources appendices of Bolles’ all-time best-seller on job hunting and career changing, What Color Is Your Parachute?  Ken earned an Master of Arts degree from Ball State University (Indiana) emphasizing Career Counseling and Human Resources, and a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Massachusetts). His undergraduate degree in History and a Business minor is from Taylor University (Indiana).


The USDOL webcast roundtable event focuses on the important role of job clubs in getting Americans back to work. Panelists will include job club coordinators, workforce development officials, faith leaders, researchers, and workers who will discuss the various ways job clubs, work groups, and employment ministries support communities to help the unemployed regain their footing and transition back to the workforce.


Job Club programs based at religious institutions, community organizations, and more recently online offer an opportunity for unemployed individuals to come together and share job search techniques and professional networks, learn about careers and programs, and provide peer and grief counseling support.


The Department of Labor's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is launching a new project to connect job clubs to each other through a Community of Practice ( where individuals can share best practices, tools, and resources; and to also facilitate partnerships between job clubs and the workforce investment system, including One-Stop Career Centers.


Login to this webcast to hear the stories of job clubs and their members and to learn more about this new project.  To view the webcast live, go to  on Tuesday, May 24 at 1:30 pm EST.

85% of college grads return to nest


"85% of college grads return to nest", by JOHN AIDAN BYRNE, NY Post, May 9, 2011

"Beaten down by heavy debt and out of work, today's college grads are the new underclass. Many are struggling to stave off financial ruin.  It's so tough that some eight out of 10 graduates this year are moving back home, according to a recent poll by a consulting firm. Some will continue their studies -- betting on an economic turnaround later -- and others are criss-crossing the country, desperate for work."


The slow, very slow recovery from the Great Recession is hitting everyone, including college grads who have to come home because they haven't found their first job.   Unfortunately, colleges and universities are partially responsible for the situation.  They've "sold seats in the classroom" without adequately providing, even requiring, that students are taught that career planning, experientially-learning the skills and importance of networking (a.k.a. "personal community development"), and actively involving alumni, their parents, and their churches in the transition from college to the workplace are essential to finding work and staying employable in a "flat, hot and crowded" world.  And to discovering their vocation, their calling.


Churches also have missed the opportunity to help their congregants witness to and help this transition period for graduates.  While the most potent network in existence, the Church fails in its mission to help humankind find that the Caller is calling each of us to "whole-life stewardship" by not empowering the grad and the congregants to find each other, trade stories, share ideas and connections, and pray for the each other.   More than 20 years ago I helped launch just such an effort at one college with amazing results, both for undergrads and the alumni. 


It's time for all colleges and universities (and any training program) and congreations to actively find ways to empower their people to do the same as their recent grads returning home and their parents who are in transition having lost their jobs and had their careers derailed.