Tampa entrepreneur provides free job services for federal workers

When the government shutdown began on December 21, 800,000 federal employees across the country found themselves furloughed, working without a paycheck, and wondering how they’d make ends meet.

One Tampa Bay entrepreneur is hoping to ease that burden through free career workshops and job placement assistance.

“These people are hurting right now, and they don’t know what the end game is,” says Joel Fenelon, a University of Tampa graduate and founder of Harvest, an online platform that uses data science to match job seekers in all industries with employers looking for people with their specific skill sets. “The shutdown could last 48 more hours or 40 more months, and it’s a risk that families can’t afford.”

Fenelon and his team are prepared to donate $5,000-$10,000 weekly in career services until the shutdown ends. First, he’s offering two online workshops this week on Harvest’s “Magic Career Formula.” To register, click here. Second, he’s waiving the fees for 30-minute one-on-one consultation session with a Harvest career curator. During the session, curators will talk with federal employees in depth about their skills and goals and help them come up with a job search strategy.

Although federal employees could go back to their regular jobs once the shutdown ends, Fenelon knows that this experience could cause some of them to decide to look elsewhere for employment. He’s hopeful that the free services he’s providing, coupled with Harvest’s innovative technology, will show them that they do have options, and that job searching doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

“It can’t just be the old way of sending out thousands of resumes,” he says, adding that an estimated 72 percent of resumes are never even viewed by human eyes. “There is a smarter and easier way to do it. In this case, our software is doing the work and matching you automatically to the right positions.”

Fenelon also notes he’s also in discussions with several employers both locally and nationally who are interested in fast-tracking the interview process to help put federal employees back to work sooner.

“There’s an immediate need to help these people,” he said. “We’re here to do whatever we can.”

For more information and to create a free account, visit https://www.harvest.jobs/.

Read more articles by Jaymi Butler.

Jaymi Butler is a writer and editor who enjoys telling the stories of growth and innovation in the Tampa Bay Area, which she has called home since 2003. A former reporter for the Savannah Morning News, The State, and The Tampa Tribune, she has covered a variety of topics ranging from business to features to public health -- and she even got to sit in on an American Idol audition just feet away from Simon Cowell!

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