After reviewing a few potential locations, Mike introduced Tami to Ben Sosne, the Executive Director of the Berkshire Innovation Center (“the BIC”) in Pittsfield’s William Stanley Business Park. It quickly became evident that locating in the BIC would be a win/win for the company and BIC members as well.
BIC members now have ready access to staffing advice. Tami found that as a BIC member, her network expanded faster. That helped her to learn more about opportunities for her business.
“The benefit of being at the BIC is that you get connected to many companies and their leaders. We have received tremendous support from these companies and have formed strong relationships,” Tami said.
“I don’t think we would be as successful as we are if it weren’t for the BIC,” commented Jaclyn Aubin.
As part of its role as a “non-traditional” staffing agency, TEC actively reaches out into the community to find and assist potential applicants. Tami is especially proud of the “TEC-NewGens,” or new generation, an internship program she created to reach out to and support young people in the workforce.
“It’s hard to use traditional recruiting to tap into the 18 to 28-year-old market. They operate differently than the way I would operate if I was looking for a job,” Tami said. “Our TEC-NewGens have a reach and network that we don’t have with social media and other tools.”
Tami described a time when Jiminy Peak, a local ski area, called on the Thursday before February break looking for help because they were short-staffed.
“They called and said, ‘we need help next week from Monday to Friday. We are short-staffed and need about six or seven people for forty hours a week,’ said Tami. “We replied, ‘absolutely, we can help.’ We put the task on the NewGens asked them to reach out to their network. Within two hours, they filled all those jobs.”
In addition to recruiting, the goal of the TEC-NewGens program is to teach the interns how a business operates. During the summer, they will be working and learning from the team.
Social media is not the only way to reach out.
“We want to be the liaison between job seekers and businesses and bridge the hiring gap. We have the network and do all the leg work,” Sarai Liebenow said.
TEC also helps candidates prepare for interviews. The goal is to make candidates comfortable and present themselves in the best light. For example, TEC created an “interview tips” blog on its website about interview techniques.
“For some candidates, this could be their first job interview. For others, many years have gone by since they last changed jobs. They get nervous and are unsure what to expect” Jaclyn said. “We provide constructive feedback and interview tips tailored to the specific job.”
“Jaclyn sets up a Zoom call just so that she can see how the candidate presents on a Zoom,” Tami adds. “It is not that she is interviewing them. Instead, she advises them on body language, if their setup is sufficient and does their passion comes through. It is important to help them present themselves well over a Zoom call. The nonverbal is just as important as the verbal.”
By reaching out to companies and finding candidates in new and innovative ways, TEC says that it is broadening its network across the Berkshires. Being in the BIC and working with the resources in the city is all a part of that.
“The network is so important. I cannot stress that enough,” Tami says. “Whether it be just a personal relationship, a business relationship, funding grants or something else, all the help a small business needs to tap into is here in Berkshire County.”
– by Roger Matus