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Chuck Knebl, Communications Manager, WorkOne Northern Indiana (Photo Supplied)
WorkOne’s networking group for professionals seeking jobs in Elkhart and Region 2 gains momentum

Posted on Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.

ELKHART — WorkOne operates targeted, legally mandated employment, skills-training, business-services and jobless-benefits programs that seek to fit everyone in northern Indiana’s 288,100-person workforce.

If you reside within north-central Indiana (Region 2), including Elkhart County, and are interested in learning more about how WorkOne’s taxpayer-funded efforts can assist you, please email me at; I’ll be happy to hear from you.

A portion of northern Indiana’s workforce is composed of women and men with college degrees who are seeking professional jobs in occupations such as accounting, engineering, human resources, sales, marketing, healthcare management, project analysis and management, banking, financial planning, and non-profit management, among others.

Among our many and varied programs serving the entire regional labor force, WorkOne has a dedicated effort to assist individuals seeking professional jobs in Elkhart County as well as other parts of Region 2 (including Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties). This program for individuals trained to enter professional jobs – which WorkOne Region 2 has dubbed “Elevate” – is the topic of my article today.

WorkOne’s Mark Dollinger, the Elevate facilitator, notes that some intriguing and valuable evolutions have occurred since the professional networking group was launched in October 2011. For instance, the professionals who currently participate in the weekly gatherings average 15 men and women, nearly quadruple the average participation of four professionals during the initial 2011 sessions.

In addition, WorkOne managers as well as Mark have discovered through observation and discussion that attendees experience strong skills growth when Elevate is “participant-driven and participants must lead us.” Offering an apt description, Dollinger says, “The group is part networking, part instructional and part therapy.”

In addition, Elevate has spurred successful results in the form of new professional jobs secured by 34 percent of all attendees over two years, yet the placement rate soars to 45 percent for individuals who have attended two or more gatherings of the group. Over 24 months, Elevate has helped 53 Hoosiers earn full-time, professional positions, and another 20 participants have entered part-time, temporary or contracted work. Thus, just about every other week on average an Elevate participant has secured a full-time job.

In chatting with Dollinger, I learned that each of these 73 placements have been important to him – as well as to WorkOne managers – and there have been instances where initial part-time work paved the way to a full-time position, such as in the case of Mary, one of Dollinger’s clients. She had been attending Elevate for several months and was excelling at most aspects of a professional job search.

“Her resume was good, interviewing skills were strong,” Dollinger explains. “But she just wasn’t landing a job in the tough economy.”

At this point, something key came into play: persistence.

“She continued to network, target companies for employment and finally landed a job. Although the initial job was part-time,” he notes. “It had room for full-time opportunities. Within a month, she was given a full-time opportunity, accepted and is very happy in the position.”

In another success story, Dollinger describes a 62-year-old Hoosier named Sam who “was very frustrated and down on himself for losing his job.”

Upon participating in Elevate, Dollinger observed that Sam’s emotions were dominating, allowing him very little space to focus on a job search amid fears of potential age discrimination.

“After we met one-on-one and sharpened his resume, he began to get interviews,” Dollinger says. “After a few brief discussions on how to interview, his confidence level blossomed. Not long after, he secured a position with a company that will pay him more than his previous employer. Age is not a barrier in the job search.”

Elevate “members are learning the art and value of networking, learning how to target resumes and enhance interviewing skills, and sharing with each other their trials, tribulations, successes and failures,” he adds.

With the networking group lending a hand, the following professionals have secured jobs in northern Indiana over the past 24 months:

Ÿ Engineers

Ÿ Architects

Ÿ Company vice presidents

Ÿ Plant managers

Ÿ Sales representatives

Ÿ Teachers

Ÿ Bankers

Ÿ Marketing & communications specialists.

Since July 1, the average salary of placed individuals has been more than $54,000 annually. Moreover, three Hoosiers who attended Elevate gatherings secured jobs with individual salaries of at least $100,000 annually.

If you are interested in speaking with Dollinger or attending this professional networking group, please contact him: Mark Dollinger, WorkOne Job Placement Specialist / Networking Facilitator, phone, 855-5323 and email,