By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BOROUGH HALL — The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce relaunched its Good Help job placement initiative during a Borough Hall event on Thursday.
The program uses a network of more than 150 schools, city Workforce offices, community organizations and political offices to match job applicants with businesses, explained acting Chamber President Rick Russo.
“The program has helped served 900 businesses and several thousand job seekers,” said Chamber of Commerce Chairman Peter Meyer.
One employer who filled vacancies with Good Help is GEM Pawnbrokers, a chain of 25 pawnshops whose main office is on Schermerhorn Street in Downtown.
“I was looking for employees, and was dissatisfied with the candidates I was getting [online] from Monster.com and Career Builders,” said Kenneth Conn, the firm’s human resources director. “It takes a special type of person to work in customer service.
“I hired seven employees. They’re still with me, and there are more in the pipeline,” he said.
Howard Service, owner of a Cartridge World franchise in Marine Park, said, “Five and a half years ago, when I was getting ready to launch my business, I found out about Good Help. I wanted to hire locally, so even though I was suspicious, I gave it a shot.
“The person I got through Good Help is still with me. I plan to use Good Help again to hire another employee.”
Also at Borough Hall were people from non-profit agencies that refer clients to Good Help.
A spokeswoman for the Center for Employment Opportunities, which helps the formerly incarcerated find jobs, said she was "thrilled that it’s starting up again.”
Another organization that refers clients to Good Help is the HOPE Program, headquartered on Smith Street, Downtown. “Some of our clients are homeless, some have very little education, some do have some college,” said Jennifer Mitchell, HOPE’s executive director. “What they have in common is that they need help to re-enter the workplace.”
Tondalaya London, the Chamber’s director of recruitment and training, reviews applicants’ resumes, interviews them, gives them tests if necessary (such as computer tests), and then decides whether to pass them on to the employers. While she has administered the program for seven years, the program was inactive from 2010 until this March because of inadequate outside funding.
“Good Help has been one of our core programs, and we’re delighted to re-launch it with the support of our partners in government,” said Russo.