Gesher, the J and Federation Partner on Jewish Agency Career Expo

Leonardo Rasaki

Candidates will have the opportunity to receive free professional headshots and resume support.

Gesher Human Services, The J and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit are working together to hold a community-wide Jewish agency career expo to help Jewish communal agencies connect with more potential candidates and increase hiring opportunities.

Around 15 Jewish agencies are expected to have booths at the career expo where they can meet, screen and interview candidates. Candidates will have the opportunity to receive free professional headshots and resume support. 

The Metro Detroit Nonprofit Career Expo will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 2-6 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield. 

Jason Charnas
Jason Charnas

Jason Charnas, director of Business and Career Services for Gesher Human Services, and Katie Vieder, senior director of Teens and Community Partnerships for JDetroit, found themselves with a similar issue. They were receiving almost daily calls and emails from local businesses and Jewish communal agencies who asked if they could help share job postings or if they could help find job candidates. 

Over the last few months and years, more and more agencies have had staffing issues. Finding candidates — both in quality and quantity — has become increasingly difficult. The issue isn’t exclusive to the Jewish community, Charnas and Vieder agree, but regardless it’s a pressing issue in the sector they work in. 

Katie Vieder
Katie Vieder

“Truthfully, there was nothing I felt like I could do besides post it on social media or send it on, which really wasn’t effective, and it got to the point where it was happening on an almost daily basis,” Vieder said. “It felt like a critical need, and we needed to come together as a community to figure out a solution because everyone was struggling with the same thing.”   

Charnas and Vieder had conversations together and with folks at Federation about how to handle this shared problem. Through those conversations came the idea of the expo. 

“The expo was this idea that together we can attract more candidates, build awareness around the different agencies with positions open and also that somebody could come to interview with one agency and then think, while they’re there, they might as well talk to these other five agencies present,” Vieder said.

Positions available in the community are wide-ranging — congregations with religious school openings, development professionals, staff accountants, program coordinators, receptionists, youth advisers, teachers, direct care professionals, janitors, group home staff, home health aides, early childhood professionals, special needs counselors, drivers, social workers, audio/visual technicians, office managers, culinary chefs, marketing and more. Both full-time and part-time positions are available. More than 100 open positions are expected to be available at the expo. 

“[The staffing shortage] was a trend starting prior to COVID. The pandemic exacerbated it. But the truth is we’re here now and we have to figure out how to solve this challenge or take a shot at it,” Charnas said. 

Vieder added, “Some of our agencies have 20-plus job positions that are open right now. They cannot fulfill their missions or do good work if they don’t have people on the ground to do it. In my opinion, the most crucial need right now is finding staff because without people, we can’t do anything.

“We want to help our agencies find and hire candidates to fill job positions, and we hope we can get more people invested in working in the Jewish community and seeing that these are meaningful, inspiring careers to hold and that we really want to invest in people to take on those positions.” 

Registration is preferred but not required for job seekers, but they should bring resumes with them regardless to pass out to employers.

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