Situational Awareness

I attended the lottery last night. It was packed as usual. There are always far more people in attendance than can actually win. My name was called early on the waiting list and I am number one at St. Stephen’s. I stayed there last night. I am hoping to stay there throughout the week. I will just have to take it on a day by day basis. You never really know though.

I could have opted for Our Savior. I would have been number two. If you get in, its for the full 28 days. As tempting as that is, last Friday, I called in to check on the bed status and no one answered the phone. I do not want to do my part only to have the shelter let me down.

Call log to Our Savior. They never picked up the phone.

I decided I would opt for a shelter where I have had better luck. St. Stephen’s has typically been luckier for me on the waiting list.

In the morning I went over to Branch 3.

It appears the computer lab is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I was unable to get a sense of progress at the computer lab.

Branch 3 was very busy. There were people playing cards, heated games of dominoes, as well as selling radios and electric razers. Meanwhile, a passerby waved to the people inside. At Branch 3, people retain all the privacy of a goldfish in a fishbowl at Branch 3 (which is also being monitored by security cameras).

After breakfast I went to St. Stephen’s for the job club.

St. Stephen’s job club continues to roll along. This time Lynn and her crew are trying to connect people with jobs with the Minnesota Twins. It is not clear how many homeless people are going to be hired, but organizers are hoping for at least 30. There are a number of barriers, including the drug test. As I explained before, shelters are highly conducive to second hand smoke. This includes dope. Many people in the shelters smoke dope as their drug of choice because they cannot drink without possible fallout stemming from the breathalyzers. My guess is that some people will lose out on legitimate employment opportunities because of someone else’s habit.

The good news is that the staff at St. Stephen’s indicated that a prior criminal history would not necessarily exclude people from working for the Twins. According to St. Stephen’s staff, applicants will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

It is now possible to get a bus token if you attend the Tuesday job club.

On the job front, there will be another job fair at the Minneapolis Convention center on March 3, 2010. This one will be from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.

The one area in which none of the job clubs is taking the lead appears to be the social networking arena. A recent article in Job Dig highlighted the importance of social networking in getting a job. Job Dig says:

“According to a CareerBuilder survey 45% of employers are using social networking sites to screen candidates. That’s a lot of employers – many of whom you might want to work for!”

It appears that social networking is a critical part of job searching. Most job centers continue to try to restrict social networking at precisely the time when employers are interested in those skills. It also give employers as sense of candidates that goes deeper than resumes. Although there are risks in social networking, the continued prohibition on the use of computers for social networking purposes appears to be the biggest one.

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