Epiphany offers lifeline for professional job seekers

January 31, 2012

KATY — Even though he lives in the West University area and has a demanding full-time position in information technology, Louis Ossorio often travels to Katy's Epiphany of the Lord Church on Monday evenings to attend the church's Job Seekers Network group. These days, he goes because he wants to help others find a job. Ossorio has the contacts to connect people with possible employers. But there was a time when the information technology specialist was the one needing help. In late 2006, he was laid off because his company was moving out of Houston and again in 2009, because that company was downsizing.

"I went to every place where I could network to look for a job," Ossorio said of his first job search, which brought him to Epiphany. "It was a learning experience, not just searching for a job, but connecting with people."

Ossorio found his first job through the networking group, and though he secured the second job through a neighbor, he kept coming back because he was grateful for the services and support he'd received and wanted to give back. 

"The labor of love Ed Conner has put into this network is admirable," Ossorio said of the man who runs the network group. "He has the experience, the credibility and care to help folks and match them with a job."

Conner, a business consultant, brought the idea of a job networking group for professionals to the Epiphany of the Lord about six years ago after seeing a need in the community.

Conner, along with volunteers, helps job seekers with networking, interviewing skills and updating résumés. The professional jobs include accounting, marketing, sales, information technology, engineering and administration. 

"We know what the target is," Conner said. "We feel we are [the] very best at networking. If you come in with a positive attitude, a great résumé and the need and desire to get to work — we are [the] ones who push you over the fence to help you get that job."

As well as the networking group, Conner also helps organize the biannual job fair in January and June, hosted by Epiphany of the Lord and supported by a group of 36 area churches.

"Being a church-based group, I think we provide a positive attitude and give hope," said Schottsie Hill, Epiphany's outreach ministry director. 

"During these tough economic times when unemployment rates are up, networking is often the best way to hear about or get referrals for a new job opportunity."

Scott Lane, senior accounting consultant for Galleria area Sirius Solutions, said the group helped him through two job searches. 

"Even though I didn't get my job through the networking group, it helped me with my skills networking and looking for a job," he said.

Like Ossorio, Lane said he keeps in touch with the group because he is now in a position to provide contacts for others looking for a job.

Conner said it is difficult to measure the success in terms of job placements because people come and go, but from staying connected with alumni like Ossorio and Lane, he knows they provide a useful service, and it's free. †


If your parish has an employment networking group like the one in Katy, the Texas Catholic Herald is requesting your help. E-mail the Herald at tch@archgh.org with your information.