The church bulletin for several weeks asked that people pray for those without jobs, but John Rothaus, Gardner, was moved to do a little more.
He created a job club in Gardner.
“I just wanted to do this, because I thought it was a need out there. I thought, I’ll try and see what happens,” he said.
The call to pray for those without work had been in the Gardner First Baptist Church bulletin for more than a month when Rothaus decided to create a club.
Having worked as a vocational counselor for the Kansas State Department of Human Resources, he had helped develop a career center in Kansas City, Kan., a place he calls kind of a one-stop shop for job seekers. One of his primary responsibilities in that role was to assist single mothers in finding jobs. He worked to find them work or to help them find training for a career.
“I decided I wanted to maybe start this club here,” Rothaus said. “I know in KCK they do a job club this way, and I thought I could try one down here.”
Though he has work experience as a vocational counselor, Rothaus said he doesn’t want to come across as an expert.
“I’m just a facilitator to help people with their job search,” he said. “I’ve been through job searches before and I know what the struggle is. I’m hoping I can help club participants out.”
Rothaus said the club will be more of a support group to assist people who are out of work or those looking to change jobs or careers. At the group’s first meeting, which occurred after press time, Rothaus said the goal was to get to know one another so future meetings could be tailored to meet the needs of the group’s members.
At future meetings, Rothaus said, members will discuss the basics of starting a job search.
“And the feelings you have when you lose a job,” Rothaus said. “I’m looking at it as a support group, but I will supply information and some guides (members) can use to find a job, and understanding values and interests and how they can match to get a job that fits you. We’ll go all the way on through how to negotiate for salary. It will really depend on each member and what their needs are.”
At 4.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the Kansas unemployment rate is lower than the national rate. And Johnson County’s rate, at 4 percent, is lower still. Olathe’s is one of the lowest, 3.8 percent, in the area. However, there continue to be lots of people out of work. One of the area’s largest employers, Sprint, laid off more than 450 people in November to bring its 2014 Kansas lay-off total to 1,387.
The club will meet once per month, tentatively on the third Tuesday, at the Gardner branch of the Johnson County Library. Future meeting dates will be dependent on when the library has space available.
The next meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Feb. 17.
Rothaus said the club is open ended.
“You can come at any time you want,” he said. “I know not everyone will be able to come every time.”
For more information about the Gardner Job Club contact John at (913)206-7370 or email him at [email protected]
Job club organizer hopes to help people find work, change careers