An employment specialist assists people who need work with the process of finding appropriate careers, getting training, applying for jobs, and settling in at new workplaces. These professionals tend to focus on at-risk populations of people who have difficulty finding and keeping work, such as ex-convicts, people with disabilities, and veterans entering the civilian workforce. Employment specialists can work for government agencies, nonprofits, and individual companies who want a consultant on call to handle the needs of their staff members.
Employment specialists can lead workshops and other events to provide general information about employment and available resources. They may work with a website to offer articles and employment information, job listings, and other resources for members of the public. Community outreach is not necessarily part of the work, and tends to be more common for government and nonprofit employees who want to improve employment numbers among a target group.
In addition, the employment specialist meets with people one on one. Clients can include people who want new jobs and are thinking about switching careers, as well as unemployed people and people rejoining the workforce after an extended break. The specialist determines the skills of the applicant as well as any particular needs, and applies this information to career advice. The advice may include seeking additional training as well as applying directly for job openings.
At the workplace, the employment specialist can assess employee needs and make sure they are met. This work may include working with employers and employees to accommodate disabilities or other issues, like the need to leave work early to handle young children getting out of school. The goal is to help the employee fit into a workplace culture and feel comfortable there, while providing the employer with a reliable, pleasant, and functional employee. Sometimes these measures are simple; for example, a wheelchair user may just need a new desk to work comfortably.
Qualifications needed to work as an employment specialist can vary. Some are trained and licensed social workers who focus on employment issues, while others rise to such positions internally within a company. On-the-job training in an employment department can familiarize people with the job so they can provide services to a company's employees and work successfully in recruitment and retention to attract and keep personnel. Working as an employment specialist requires good communication skills as well as the ability to interact comfortably with a wide range of people.