As San Diego County children headed back to school, the Metro Career Center gave a boost to local parents by hosting the first-ever parent day, dubbed “Back to Work Day.” More than 40 parents attended the event, and 10 secured employment on the spot or in the following week from connections made onsite. Others were scheduled for future interviews. Based on this success, the career centers hope to repeat the event quarterly at the four major centers in the region.
Parent Day is part of a culture shift within the San Diego Career Centers toward a new service model that supports parent job seekers with access to child care, family-friendly jobs and family resources. Known as 2Gen, the new approach aims to promote income mobility across generations by helping parents get jobs while simultaneously helping connect their children with high quality, affordable child care that supports their healthy development and academic readiness. Parents with stable, affordable child care have better attendance at work and more focus while they are there.
On August 8, attendees were invited to stop by anytime between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to attend a parent-tailored job search workshop, meet with employers touting their family–friendly job opportunities and learn about community resources, programs and services available for parents and caregivers with small children.
On-site child care was provided by local Girl Scouts who earned a babysitting badge while they entertained the children. The kids enjoyed making play-dough sculptures and other art projects, giving their parents a chance to engage fully with event resources and network with employers.
A participant who traveled from Escondido to attend Back to Work Day said she had never encountered a job event that was geared toward families before. “I love the fact that the center was able to provide day care while I was in the workshop and at the employer panel,” said Diana. “It gave me an opportunity to meet with two employers that I was highly interested in applying for.”
A full-house employer panel featured family-friendly companies like HomeGoods, Sharp Healthcare, JC Resorts, AccentCare and more. “Attendance was a big success!” said Hannah Schultz, Area Operations Manager at AccentCare. “Participating employers were nicely matched to the job seekers’ preferred field or line of work. It’s nice to see such an engaged, interested and enthused audience.” Employers were thrilled to pitch their jobs to parents; the panel stretched the width of the room and disappointed employers were turned away at the door.
The purpose of the panel, in addition to offering employment opportunities, was to show parents that there are local businesses that recognize the importance of supporting employees as parents. “It was great to participate because we were able to spread the word on what Sharp HealthCare is all about and what we do as recruiters,” said Alicia Vasquez, a recruiter for Sharp. “They get information they need like how to apply and how the whole hiring process flows from beginning to the end.”
Employers see family-friendliness as an attraction and retention strategy. Businesses on the panel touted a range of benefits, including schedule consistency, family-supporting wages, opportunities for training and advancement and flexibility in case child care arrangements fall through. “I love the fact that I am able to bring my child to work if I do not have child care coverage or if school is closed for the holidays,” said an attendee after an on-the-spot interview with Swann School of Protocol.
Businesses interested in recruiting parents at future Parent Day events can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the schedule.