By Jane Bokun
A free job group called STM Career Group, which started years ago in Munster, In. has proven to be a saving grace for many in the area who are looking for jobs.
Christine Spencer, who heads the job networking group in the Weis Center at St. Thomas More church, 8435 Calumet Avenue in Munster, started it when she lost her own job and saw it as a vehicle to help on the 3rd Thurs of each month at the Weis Center and the rest is history. “
Spencer, a petite woman who always wears suits to her meetings, has a background in meeting planning and has trained various groups in time management.
“Lots of people come here for jobs,” agreed Susan Strain, who works at St. Thomas More church in Munster. “They can get free help with resumes and hear from human resource professionals.”
Spencer said that may be the ticket to her group’s success.
“We have different presenters at most of the meeting that help with how to land that next opportunity,” she said. “We also have Donna Weidenfeller who is retired from Purdue Calumet Career Services helping people with resumes and cover letters each month and Robert Teets who helps with IT, social media and spends times encouraging participants. His wife, Helen Marie Harmon, has also been a presenter many times and is certified to give the Myers-Briggs Assessment which we do each spring.”
STM Career Group now has a steady 30 participants each month and as many as 100. All meetings are free and open to the public.
In fact, Spencer said she started the networking group, because, “not only once, but four times, I’ve gone through downsizing and merger. “
Now, about 50 participants meet at 7 p.m. monthly on Thursdays at Weis to network, hear seminars from local companies such as Arcenal Mittal Steel, and basically do what it takes to get a new job. The crowd varies each week from very young right out of college applicants to seniors. Volunteer, Donna Weidenfeller, gives presentations and is a resume reviewer.
“When I lost a very good job I was traveling as much as 50 miles away to network,” Spencer said. “I had been thinking of starting a networking group in the area and just prayed about what all this means. Everything just eventually fell into place. “