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Three family members have created a resource for people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic because of the coronavirus.
Sigal Spitzer, her brother Gilad and her husband Zach Flamholz, all relatively young, have launched ILostMyJobToCoronavirus.com, a platform designed to connect the unemployed to new employment resources and opportunities.
Flamholz, a medical student in New York City, first got the idea for the website mid-March, when he noticed the swift uptick in the national unemployment rate in the United States. He brought the idea to his wife Sigal and her brother.
“We were tracking the unemployment issue related to the coronavirus,” Gilad said. “While we felt the medical issue and people’s health and the hospitals were making the big headlines and were being taken care of by politicians and obviously medical professionals, the unemployment situation was really being left behind.”
Gilad, who just graduated from high school, built the majority of the website after several computer science courses. Sigal recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in consumer behavior and economics, and handles the marketing and outreach for the website.
“We want to have people’s backs from the beginning until the end,” Gilad said. “That means from the moment they are unemployed throughout the entire journey of skill-building, resumes, finding connections, all the way along until they are connected with their job and recruiter.”
According to Sigal, because of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety crisis has rightfully consumed the focus of public officials and decision makers. She noted that the unemployment crisis has been left behind, with “millions across the globe unemployed and entire industries collapsing.”
“We really wanted to fill the market there and try and help as many people out in getting a head start on the unemployment situation as a result of the coronavirus,” Gilad said. “We wanted to get ahead of it and get this website developed so that as the pandemic raged on, people would be able to benefit from this resource.”
Their website offers a virtual platform that connects users with other users and “facilitates employment by connecting users with job postings and active recruiters.” Gilad stated they aim to take the site even further than traditional job sites – in the next few weeks ILostMyJobToCoronavirus.com will offer mentorship opportunities such as webinars, workshops and one-on-one coaching for those seeking to reenter the workforce.
“It’s really unique – we have blogs being written about unemployment and how to get your foot back in the door in terms of getting a job,” Gilad said. “We’re going to have live Zoom events with career coaches and professionals in the industry who can hopefully provide advice in webinars for people in need.”
The one-on-one coaching portals are in development.
“Mentors and users can connect, sign up for 30-minute sessions to go over their resume, their cover letter, fix up their LinkedIn profile, things like that,” Gilad said. “That’s still being beta-tested but we hope to have that done very soon. That will be a very important aspect of the site.”
Most key functionalities have been developed since the end of March and April, when the site was launched officially.
“The main purpose is to connect people for free, both recruiters and users, with unemployment opportunities in their communities, as well as resources,” Gilad said. “We list local job listings that we find that could benefit, as well as resources such as unemployment insurance or local food resources.”
Sigal and Gilad remember the unemployment crisis in 2008, and saw the impact it had on their family and families across the country.
“I was only seven during the 2008 crisis, but my sister and other family members definitely have vivid memories of it being a very challenging time for us and for our community,” Gilad said. “It’s horrible what’s going on right now with the economic situation, across the world, and as the coronavirus rages on there’s really no end in sight.”
The website is free to access and use, with a goal of combating the negative ramifications of COVID-19. For more information, they can be found by searching the website name ILostMyJobToCoronavirus.com, or typing the abbreviation ILMJTCV into a search engine.
“We’re just trying to do our small part in helping as many people get back to employment and get as close to normal as they can,” Gilad said. “We’re definitely hoping as things begin to clear up on the medical side, and as federal and state benefits start to be cut back, there will be more of a need for our website, and the user growth will begin to rise.”