A new career services program aimed at helping its members through this economic downturn was launched by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and includes training modules, key resources, a new career resource website and an interactive network partner program, according to an ASSE press release. This is in addition to the ASSE Nexsteps job board for members at www.nexsteps.org.

In announcing the program, ASSE President C. Christopher Patton, CSP, notes some ASSE members have been hit hard by the recession — through job loss, cutbacks, transitioning, a reduction in resources and more. The new ASSE career resource center not only provides many links and key information for those going through career changes and seeking employment, but also provides a peer-to-peer network globally and through chapters aimed at linking those in need of help with ASSE members that can provide direction, tips and suggestions.

The new ASSE career resources website (http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs-new/career-res/index.php) provides job hunting tools for ASSE members including job search training modules and articles organized by subject covering topics like interviewing, job boards, resumes, cover letters, and negotiation.

As part of the new career resources program, ASSE also launched a new Networking Partners Program at (http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs-new/career-res/NetworkingPartners.php), which pairs members currently seeking employment with an employed ASSE member in their area who has volunteered to help them network and search for job leads. To assist with the program ASSE is looking for ASSE members to volunteer as networking partners who would be asked to communicate with the job seeker on a regular basis.

“These tasks may seem small but they truly have the potential to change someone’s life in a positive way,” Patton said.

In his letter announcing the program Patton stated, “I am writing this letter to ask you to make a personal commitment to help our fellow safety, health and environmental professionals who are out of work during these harsh economic times. In my brief time as your society president, I have come to learn of the devastating personal effects that this recession has had on too many of our friends, colleagues and fellow ASSE members. I have heard difficult stories about the impact of extended job searches, the financial strain on families, the stress on spouses and children, and the health issues related to anxiety and lack of sleep worrying about the future. We need to come together to do more for our colleagues and friends in need.”

ASSE’s Networking Partners Program allows ASSE members who are currently seeking employment to connect with a fellow member to help them with their job search. Once a job seeker signs up for the program, they will be connected with a networking partner in their state that will provide guidance and support including: reviewing the job seeker’s resume and providing constructive feedback; providing opportunities for the job seeker to network by making calls to appropriate colleagues; facilitating informational meetings; and, taking the job seeker to events that will allow them to network.

ASSE members who have recently lost their job or have been unemployed for several months can sign up now for ASSE’s Networking Partners Program and be paired with a fellow local ASSE member. They can also access the help tools on the ASSE career resource center’s web site such as starting a business; professional development opportunities; available grants and scholarships for retraining; online skill building tutorials; certifications; search firms; financial issues; COBRA; unemployment insurance; job search expenses/tax deduction; resumes and cover letters; using job boards; negotiating; temporary or contract jobs; volunteer opportunities and much more.

To further assist its members during this difficult economy, ASSE is deferring membership dues for members who have lost their jobs and are currently unemployed. Members can contact ggolonka@asse.org if they have or know a fellow member who has experienced this situation and to learn more about the ASSE hardship program. ASSE has developed a series of training modules for job seekers, which are free of charge to members on general advice; resumes and cover letters; networking; interviewing and much more. ASSE has also developed resources for the chapters to enhance their networking and job search capabilities and have partnered with other associations to increase the number of new listings on the ASSE Nexsteps job board.