Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Cincinnati 2020 in 2018: Jody Brant
Each installment in this series will feature a different perspective on Cincinnati 2020, the Jewish community’s collaboration to build an engaged and empowered Jewish community by the year 2020.
This week, we hear from Jody Brant, JVS Career Services Board Member and Past President.
What is your current title(s), both in regards to JVS Career Services?
Currently, I am a JVS Career Services Board Member. I have served on the Board of JVS Career Services and its predecessor entity since 1999, so I have seen the organization evolve over the last two decades. I am also a Past President of the JVSCS Board.
How did you first get involved in (or hear about) Cincinnati 2020? What is your role now?
I have been aware of Cincinnati 2020 since our community began the process of developing a long-term strategic plan. I participated on several teams and attended several community forums. Also, my wife, Debbie, served on the steering committee for Cincinnati 2020, so I participated in many discussions at home.
What has JVS Career Services done differently in the past year that pushes forward the Cincinnati 2020 goals?
The JVSCS mission supports the Cincinnati 2020 Caring pillar, seeking to ensure quality of life for all by helping members of the Jewish community find meaningful employment at any age. This includes helping high school/college students build experience, professionals path their careers, and older adults find new work later in life or find an encore career after retirement. JVSCS has focused on key areas affecting each of these three groups in the last year.
- In support of high school/college students:
- JVSCS oversees the management of the Onward Israel Internship Program, which provides professional experience for Jewish college students in their respective fields in Tel Aviv, Israel; and the Workum Fund, which provides eight-week-long internships in Cincinnati’s Jewish nonprofit agencies; and is a strategic partner in the Cincy Internship collaborative that includes Onward, Workum, and Careers Cincinnati.
- In support of professional leadership:
- JVSCS started offering Executive Coaching to employees within the Jewish community and other Cincinnati nonprofits.
- JVSCS is co-managing the community-wide talent management initiative to attract and retain professionals to work in the Jewish community.
- In support of older adults:
- JVSCS is participating in a community collaborative task force (Aging 2.0) to develop a strategic planning framework to advance the wellbeing of all older adults regardless of their physical, emotional, or cognitive functions.
- JVSCS is a service provider for AgeWell Cincinnati, a new central solution that links older adults, their family members, friends, and caregivers to community resources for aging well in Jewish Cincinnati
Why should JVS Career Services be important to the community?
JVSCS is vital to accomplishing Cincinnati 2020’s primary objective “More Jews, More Engaged.” For our community to attract and retain people to Cincinnati, people need jobs and their spouses need jobs, and their children need internship opportunities. Everything we do is about connecting people to meaningful employment.
When there is an economic downtown, our services are even more vital to the community. Helping individuals find new employment when a job is lost can minimize the financial impact on the family and minimize the need for community resources to support them.
Searching for a job is not something that people do regularly during their careers. The skills necessary to complete a successful job search are not typically the skills necessary to perform a job well. Having an organization that can provide job seekers with these skills is important to our community.
Do you think the link between Cincinnati 2020 and JVS Career Services comes across to the Cincinnati Jewish community?
Yes, the link between Cincinnati 2020 and JVSCS is readily apparent to the Cincinnati Jewish community. This shows in the JVSCS statistics for last year. In 2017, JVSCS clients had 374 job starts, with 80% of the newly employed clients identifying themselves as Jewish. This is a 31.7% increase over 2016 job starts.
These statistics dovetail with the Cincinnati 2020 goals of (1) Increasing Self-Sufficiency (90% of clients with financial hardships will demonstrate increased self-sufficiency) and (2) Securing Jobs (95% of employable Jewish clients seeking employment will secure jobs).
How can we help others understand the connection to and the importance of JVS Career Services and their efforts to help older adults find meaningful work?
We need to continue to provide great services to the individuals and employers with whom we work every day. We need to continue to develop other ways we can connect individuals to jobs. We need to continue to partner with other agencies on projects, and we need to continue to put on community events and seminars like Redefine Retirement.
If we do these things, more and more people will know what JVSCS does for the community. Our goal would be that everyone in the Jewish community thinks of JVSCS when a friend is looking for a job or when their company is looking for an employee.
What does the future of JVS Career Services look like through the lens of Cincinnati 2020?
JVSCS will continue to support people throughout their careers, from administering college scholarships for local high school students to providing internships for college students, to assisting with job searches for those starting careers after college or graduate school, to those looking for work or advancement mid-career or later in life.
Has Cincinnati 2020 been successful so far? How do you measure its successes, both when it comes to JVS Career Services, and otherwise?
In my opinion, Cincinnati 2020 has been a huge success, as it has enabled the community to think about long-term strategic planning. No organization has been impacted more by Cincinnati 2020 than JVSCS. Prior to the start of Cincinnati 2020, job creation was a small initiative of the old JVS with minimal economic impact. Today, JVSCS is focused solely on jobs with an annual economic impact of almost $11 million.
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