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February 11, 2015

Tieman (Ty) Chang was laid off from his engineering job in July 2012. He had previously worked for the defense industry for more than 10 years, but had recently moved into the commercial industry working as a program manager for a power electronics company in Sorrento Valley. 

Shortly after the layoff, Chang went to the North County Coastal Career Center, operated by ResCare and funded by the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Chang met with Elizabeth Medina Castro, a North County Coastal Career Center Representative, who says he approached the situation with a positive attitude, ready to enroll in services.

Chang attended many workshops offered at the career centers, including those focused on mock interviews, résumé writing, social media and employer panels. Chang says he found the employer panel to be the most powerful. “This workshop made job searching, interviewing and networking real by interacting face-to-face with recruiters and HR representatives,” he says. He adds that the social media workshops were also particularly valuable as they helped him see how important sites like LinkedIn can be in the employment search. Castro adds that Chang attended outside networking groups as well and shared this valuable information with other career center job seekers to help motivate them.

Through his work with his career counselor, Chang decided he wanted to grow his knowledge in project management and get hands-on experience working in project teams. He enrolled in the project management certificate program at San Diego State University through the career center’s Individual Training Account (ITA) program. ITAs are designed to provide education and skills to job seekers who are in need of training, preparing them for employment in occupations within the San Diego region. Participants may access services through training providers listed on the state-managed Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL). Training is self-selected by the customer with guidance and assistance from career center staff.

Chang began his training in October 2012, and was scheduled to complete in November 2013, but he worked quickly and completed the certificate in July 2013. Chang soon started getting interviews and ultimately secured a job with Zodiac Aerospace in Garden Grove, Calif., with a competitive salary in the industry.

Chang was extremely grateful for the help he received at the career center. “I want to thank North County Coastal Career Center for all of their assistance, guidance, motivation and, most of all, support during these transition days,” he says. “I have made new friends over the months and I will continue to support the career center by helping those who are need to land their next job opportunity.”

Castro notes that Chang was an exceptional participant and appreciates that he even notified friends about the career centers, explaining how they provide access to different levels of assistance.

Chang’s PM certificate really came into play about a year ago, when he began working with the Project Management Institute-San Diego Chapter (PMI-SD). And in August 2014, he was elected Vice President of Professional Development for the chapter, which hosts numerous career events.

“In particular, the Professional Development team, in partnership with the North County Career Center, hosted an Employer Panel Career Event,” Chang says. “It was the first career panel discussion event for the chapter and resulted in great positive feedback from our members.” Chang adds that for 2015, Professional Development will embark on new strategies for career development to aid its members in transition. “These strategies will adopt the tools, techniques, knowledge and skills that I obtained during my time at the career centers—and that prove to be successful at any level—to our members who are passionate to explore their career opportunities.”

Chang explains that the career center gave him personal and professional growth beyond his expectations, and hopes that other professionals in transition will recognize the benefits offered by the centers. “I highly recommend that job seekers and professionals in career transition participate in the workshops and network with others at the career centers,” he says. “I strongly believe it is a step that will change the way you see your next career.”

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