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November 07, 2012 - Finding a job isn't easy these days, but it's even tougher when a person feels as if they're all alone in their search.

Fortunately, Oxford has a group to support the needs of the unemployed, both professionally and emotionally.

It's called Transitions and it meets on the first and third Fridays of the month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Oxford United Methodist Church (21 E. Burdick St.).

Founded in February 2010, Transitions is an employment networking and career guidance program. Supported and promoted by the North Oakland County affiliate of Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC), the program is faith-based and run by volunteers.

It's open to all local individuals who have found themselves jobless during these difficult economic times and are seeking advice and assistance in their search for gainful employment. The group also offers counseling and encouragement to help deal with the personal and financial troubles often associated with being unemployed.

"Over 100 people have found jobs (because of Transitions)," said Sandy Weaver, executive director of Love INC.

Weaver reported "there aren't very many" people attending the meetings right now.

"The group has gotten fairly small," she said. "I went one Friday and there were only a couple people there."

"Sometimes there's just five of us sitting there, looking at each other," said Oxford resident Jim Tichenor, who serves as the group's co-moderator.

On the one hand, Transitions' diminishing membership is a good thing because it means many of the people who have participated in Transitions have found employment.

On the other hand, Tichenor knows there are still plenty of folks out there who need jobs and require assistance.

"We're really in transition as a group," he said. "We've talked about discontinuing it because of the lack of interest. But we know that there are all kinds of people out of work, so we're trying to keep it going."

Weaver said Transitions isn't just for professionals such as engineers and executives.

It's also for blue-collar workers (both skilled and unskilled), secretaries, anyone who needs a job and helping hand to get it.

Transitions members assist each other by distributing information about potential jobs.

"If I'm driving down the road and I see (a help wanted sign), I write (the information) down and I pass it along," Tichenor said.

The program brings in speakers to address a variety of topics such as preparing resumes and cover letters, how to give a good job interview, how to dress for an interview and how to use professional networking websites such as LinkedIn.

Tichenor noted the key to successfully utilizing Transitions is regular meeting attendance. "It's difficult when somebody just comes one time to give them all the help and information they need in one shot," he said.

The group also provides members with a safe place to get things off their chests, share their experiences and receive emotional support.

At every meeting, a pastor from the Oxford-Orion Ministers Association is present to offer support and counseling.

"The goal, to me, is to help the whole person," Tichenor said.

To learn more about Transitions, please contact Tichenor at (248) 770-3077.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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