SOUTHAMPTON — Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that at the end of January there were around 11.3 million jobs available in the country and the number of unemployed stood at 6.3 million people.
With employment opportunities outstripping the number of unemployed, those entering the labor market have even more options than they would have had in the past.
With that in mind, Edwards Public Library is hosting career coach Ed Lawrence, who will be presenting on “Career Options for Teenagers” on Tuesday, March 29 from 5-7 p.m.
“We have a lot of conversations and I give them exercises that help figure out values, what’s important to them, what they like to do and what they do well – what you’re good at isn’t necessarily what you want to do either,” said Lawrence of Natick. “By talking about the best experiences, we’ll explore why those times matter and we can figure out what those basic needs are.”
One of the assessments Lawrence uses is Gary Smalley’s Personality Type Inventory Test, which helps to understand a person’s strengths and weaknesses through characterized personality traits that are explained by animals.
The program will be the first of its kind at Southampton Library, according to children’s librarian Johanna Rodriguez Douglass. In the past, Douglass has hosted events for teens with topics and topics in nature, the arts, and computer programming.
“I wanted to reach out to teenagers about employment to give them a chance to think about their future. At that age, it’s a time of discovery and making good decisions for their future,” she said. “And hopefully it will give them the opportunity to get to know each other in a logical way.”
During his presentation at the library, Lawrence will also talk about college and whether it makes sense for each attendee.
“There are alternatives to college because it’s not for everyone – 34% (of students) drop out in their first year,” he said. “It might make more sense for some to go on a gap year or go to trade school.”
As the first member of his family to go to college, Lawrence said he grew up in a family where the attitude was, “once you choose something, you stick with it.”
Although he has a marketing degree in finance from Boston University as well as an MBA in information management, it was only three years after he started working as a systems analyst he realized he didn’t want to do that kind of work.
“I just didn’t appreciate it,” he said. “I also got five A’s in accounting in graduate school, but I had no interest in becoming an accountant. But when an engineer came into our office and asked if there were any volunteers teaching the technology to customers, I just volunteered and loved it. I loved learning about technology and helping business people apply the features in their work. »
Professionally, Lawrence offers a range of career services to job seekers and those changing careers. In the past, he has given presentations with Boston University’s Center for Career Development as well as MassHire Career Centers, providing adults with assistance with writing a resume, cover letter , a LinkedIn profile and job search tips.
More recently, he gave a presentation aimed at teenagers at the Southwick Public Library.
“It is important to note that although I can ask questions, it is not obligatory to share. It is a safe space. If people are here to listen and learn, I don’t want anyone to feel embarrassed,” Lawrence said. “We hope to plant a long-term seed that we hope will help them find a good choice for their future. We want them to have confidence in themselves to do what they want.
Pre-registration is encouraged at Tuesday’s event, but walk-in attendees are also welcome. To pre-register, email [email protected] or call 413-527-9480.
Emily Thurlow can be contacted at [email protected]