NOVA Streamlines Services to Improve Job Search for Customers

Over the past year, with the economy improving, NOVA has seen a decline in the number of customers it serves overall; however, the number of services provided has not changed proportionately. In FY 2012, NOVA served 7,566 customers, down from 10,358 customers served in FY 2011. However, the average number of client visits per day during this same period was 364, a small change from 385 the previous year. In addition, the total number of services provided this past year was 136,641, down from just 138,152 in FY 2011. Although NOVA is serving fewer customers, the customers served are utilizing more services and assistance. This can be attributed, in large part, to the changes in the portfolio of services that NOVA is providing to customers to more effectively meet their needs and the high value that customers are placing on these services for their job search. Two examples of the changes implemented this past year include: enhanced LinkedIn training with a focus on improving the client profile and access to the network created through this online social media tool; and better job leads through the new online job board coupled with success in matching job seekers’ skill-sets to the more detailed job requirements that are now requested from employers.

In looking ahead to the future and, with the recent reduction in staffing last June, NOVA has reevaluated its operations and is reinventing its service-delivery system with the intent of streamlining access to services. For example, registration for NOVA services is now done in groups rather than one-on-one, so NOVA can process customers faster. Career advisor expertise can now be accessed using three possible pathways, not just the one-on-one appointments of the past, including: 1) calling the new career advice hotline with a quick question (408) 730-7839; 2) attending an “Ask the Career Advisor” workshop that is scheduled during peak hours where participants can ask questions of a career advisor and the group can benefit from both the questions of others and the answers provided; and 3) scheduling a traditional one-on-one appointment with a career advisor with a new feature added, specifically, customers can now call ahead to schedule the appointment. In addition, more hands-on classes have been added to the offerings at the career center that have been requested by customers, while other workshops have been consolidated and are now delivered in a more streamlined format. The feedback that NOVA has received thus far has been very positive. One customer reported that thanks to NOVA’s assistance, they advanced in the hiring process with four of five prospective employers and the employer that hired them made a job offer within two weeks from the initial call. Another customer reported attending fourteen classes through NOVA and found value in every one of them for their job search that ultimately led to securing new employment. NOVA expects to continue to refine and improve upon its approach to delivering services in the coming months and will provide updates in future newsletters.