Helping the long term unemployed

MIT conference

Helping the long term unemployed


Last week I attended a conference at MIT focusing on the current crisis facing the unemployed.  This conference was hosted by Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Ofer opened up the conference, by stating that when workers remain unemployed for more than six months, the effect is more than financial, but psychological.  The long term unemployed (LTU) describe themselves in a “black hole” that they cannot seem to get out of.


I met Ofer last summer at the NCDA conference, where he shared with me of an idea to help the LTU and research which coaching best practices would be more helpful.  I eagerly agreed to help. In August, Ofer hosted a meeting with about 30 career coaches, to discuss how we can make a difference. Ofer had also recruited a research team from MIT, Brandsis and Northeastern  with “a mission to generate effective strategies, offer practical support, and increase public understanding of the challenges facing professionals in career transitions.”  Career coaches were recruited, who were willing to give their time to help LTU job seekers.

In September, the Institute for Career Transitions, (ICT), was launched.  The institute looked to job clubs, state career centers and the internet to recruit possible job seekers for the program. The focus would be to help white collar job seekers, who were looking for work more than six months, and who were over 40 years old. The first pilot, providing coaching to 100 job seekers, for three months, from December to March.  The pilot included a control of group of 100 job seekers who did not receive coaching. One very encouraging finding we discovered was that job seekers who received coaching experienced a positive impact to their self esteem.

The purpose of the recent conference was to share findings, and invite policy makers and those in the front lines to join the cause.  Hopefully, the conference will encourage more people to take part in finding a solution to this crisis, and spread this model to more cities around the country. I am looking forward to continued work with ICT, to continue to find ways to help the LTU.


About Rachelle Lappinen

​Rachelle Lappinen is a Career and Academic Consultant and a Green Energy Ambassador. Currently, Rachelle serves as an education advocate for MassEdco working with high school students on college and career navigation. Rachelle also consults working with MIT on a research program, researching the effects of long-term unemployment on the middle class and developing best practices to help this population. Rachelle has worked at Mount Wachusett Community College, the YWCA and Becker College as a Career Development Counselor. Before becoming entering the field of workforce development, Rachelle spent over 10 years working as an insurance underwriter. Throughout her coaching and volunteer experiences, Rachelle has been noted for her determination and persistence to help those in need of career guidance. As a volunteer, Rachelle is actively involved with the non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg and the Center for Women and Enterprises. Prior to entering the coaching world, Rachelle was a senior group insurance underwriter for Unum, and sales representative for Prudential Financial. She actively involved with the Career Counselors Consortium and is a member of the Career Resource Rachelle M. Lappinen, MBA, GCDF, CPRW
This entry was posted in Career, Job Search and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Helping the long term unemployed

  1. Lorene says:

    Just a thought: The standards that we use to define long term unemployed need to be changed for recession era unemployment. Six months are standard anymore. Unfortunately, people are being evaluated by using the old employment standards when the economy was much better and it was easier to get that next job.

    Of course, we have to deal with what the current circumstances are right now. We are living Toeffler’s Future Shock these days.

  2. says:

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s