Stimulus Money and Jobs

How to find a Job offered through the Stimulus Plan

Just yesterday, we conducted a job phone bank in CBS Channel 4 and the unemployment statistic became alive to us attendants through the amount of phone calls received in a matter of 2 ½ hours. Over 400 calls and the phones ringing non-stop shows, once again, that South Floridians are greatly affected by layoffs and unemployment. We hear that Obama’s Stimulus Plan will combat unemployment, but how? Here is some new information…

Full effect of stimulus plan, as President Obama states, will be felt in the next few months. The goal is 600,000 new and SAVED jobs in the next 100 days. The focus is not only on creating new jobs but also, supporting companies to ensure that massive firings are stopped. The President reports 150,000 new jobs created in the last three months and he plans to quadruple these results in the next three months. How will he do this, especially when we discuss South Florida? Through infrastructure projects that will be launched this summer, Obama expects to put a percentage of the unemployed back in the work force.

The unemployment rate is the highest in 25 years and still expected to continue growing. The stimulus plan’s effect is almost a dent, as some argue, yet, it has a spiral effect where, if one company gains resources, it pulls others with it, allowing a multiplying factor.

So where do we find the stimulus jobs? There are several resources out there available for job seekers and employees who know will be laid off in the near future. One is the job search engine This site will provide listings of stimulus jobs, especially for the construction industry but not specific to it. allows job seekers to search several job boards at the same time, as when you type a query, it looks for all jobs available and listed in CareerBuilder, Monster and other sites. At this moment, stimulus jobs were available only for youth – 19-24 year olds looking, and as WorkForce One reports, these jobs are already sourced. However, is the one website you will want to visit to find anything new on Stimulus jobs.

14 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits provided by the Economic Federal Stimulus fund. These funds have helped many undergo the job seeking process without going bankrupt.

Other available resources we count in are free resume writing, career coaching, and job search assistance can be found through WorkForce One, a non-profit agency that will provide resources to enhance your job search results.

Certified Professional Resume Writers and Career Coaches are also available to support you, although for a fee, could be a better alternative if you require individualized attention and are not achieving results.

Another resource currently available to job seekers is the Career Strategies for Success Mass Workshop and Forum. This is a full-day event to be held at The Signature Grand in Davie, Florida, on June 23rd, 2009. Job seekers will find more information on Stimulus Plan resources, and get exposure to Human Resource professionals, recruiters, compensation benefits specialists to help them achieve better results in their job search and understand benefits available to them.

WorkForce One explains we shouldn’t expect a quick fix, since it takes time for the process to close its circle. The government launches the initiative, projects receive bids, which in their turn, get evaluated and one contractor is chosen. At that point, the chosen company is enabled to begin the hiring process. The entire process does not take two days, but Obama’s interest in supporting employment, generating and saving jobs gives hopes to the millions unemployed that there will be some relief soon.

Claudine Vainrub


Online Image and Admissions

College and Grad School Applicants – Maintain a Favorable Online Presence

How Can Cyber-trash Affect You in the College and Grad School Admissions Process

By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan

The savvy college and grad school applicant nowadays is an avid user of the Internet. But do you know that the internet can make or break your chances for advancement? Have your asked yourself: Is my web presence favorable? Can it hurt me? If you doubt it for a minute, you might be dealing with a case of Cyber-trash… There might be pictures published online or comments you have made not anonymously, which can hurt you when seeking college and graduate admissions. Sometimes, it can be very hard to erase online content, so the smart thing to do is not to publish online anything that could ever hurt you. Sounds hard, but we are referring mostly to pictures that are not favorable to you, or that could embarrass you in front of an admissions committee or employer.

Just a couple of weeks ago, eSchool News published an article regarding the National Association for College Admissions Counseling – NACAC’s recent survey on using Facebook as part of the admissions process. Approximately 25% of colleges and universities admitted to researching prospective students within social networks including Facebook, MySpace and others, before extending admissions and scholarship offers. After all, they explain that no one wants to provide a scholarship to a student to later find out that they have pictures on the internet of them drinking and trashing institutions. Just this year, there was a case of an applicant who raised red flags regarding behavior. His decision was revoked after the university found online pictures of the student portraying guns. If this student’s intentions were benevolent, and there were truly no grounds for concern, his online image portrayed otherwise. His pictures spoke a thousand words to the admissions committees, who judged him with these materials as a pivotal part of his application.

This is happening every day more, as we do not realize that the message portrayed on the internet can have great impact in our lives. In another survey conducted by NACAC in 2007, over a quarter of the participating universities expressed that admissions decisions could be revoked from finding inappropriate web content on the student.

NACAC College Decision Revocation Reasons

NACAC College Decision Revocation Reasons

Colleges and employers want to find respectful content online, and this is an opportunity for a student and job seeker to grasp. Since we know that colleges and employers are looking online for information on us, why not provide great content, information that takes us to the next level. A web resume and favorable web presence can give us that edge that we need to turn a waitlist decision in our favor.

A personal website can also provide opportunities to not only post your resume but also include a Bio, work samples and other tools that demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the Career you seek. Creating a blog on discussion topics that genuinely interest us can also allow universities and employers to see our analytical capabilities, even if their opinions differ with ours.

Getting online presence nowadays, especially the online presence you want becomes crucial. If you haven´t googled yourself yet, others probably have. Do you know what information they are finding on you? As stated in The Wall Street Journal, another survey conducted by Kaplan had 38% of colleges researching students express that what they saw “negatively affected” their views of the applicant. “Only a quarter of the schools checking the sites said their views were improved”, explains the WSJ.

In a time when we all search online, it is wise to ensure what others find about you is what you want them to find. A web resume, contributions to professional blogs, articles on special topics related to your career – GOOD! A picture of you drunk in the last Spring break party, questionable comments, personal innuendo – NOT FAVORABLE…

To take control of your college and graduate school admissions process, and achieve your goals, building your online identity is a key factor you do not want to ignore.

EduPlan in The Wall Street Journal

Alexandra Levit from The Wall Street Journal publishes opinions by Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan, regarding career assessments and how they can help you make a career transition successfully.

Check out the links to access free online assessments that will help you identify your skills, and provide ideas on how a career can change by exploring ramifications of your original course of study / work.

Differentiating Yourself as a Job Seeker

How to maximize your opportunity to find employment in a tough job market
By Claudine Vainrub, MBA and Principal of EduPlan, LLC

We read the unemployment statistics and cringe at the thought of not finding opportunities. However, there are tools that can help us to stand out from our competition and gain notice in the minds of decision-makers. Here is a list of simple but effective things to do to get noticed in a positive and productive way:

1- Develop a professional resume
By researching the latest trends and knowing what market expectations are, not only we appear professional in front of recruiters, we also become cutting-edge careerists who are informed and have the ability to quickly learn and implement processes. A professional resume should be between 1 and 2 pages long, have a section regarding core competencies and a top section listing career highlights. It should not have very lengthy paragraphs anywhere – these are not of the liking of most corporate leaders, who will devote only a few seconds to glance at a resume before making a decision on whether to put it at the top or the bottom of the pile. Seek advice through resume guides developed by certified professional resume writers. Some include “Happy About My Resume” by Barbara Safani and “Resumes for the Rest of Us” by Arnold Boldt. Find and engage help from certified professional resume writers, associations and career centers who understand and can train you on how to write a compelling marketing document. Your resume should inform, but most importantly, it needs to “sell”. You provide a service that is valuable to corporations and this should be clear to a recruiter when gazing at the resume. Spend as long as you need developing a successful resume that becomes a door-opener.istock_business-man-got-it

2- Research the company
Conduct extensive research on the companies you apply to so that you understand who they really are and what they stand for. This will be useful throughout the application process, when developing a cover letter and interviewing. As you know the company in-depth, you will be able to ask relevant questions during the interview process and demonstrate your real interest in the corporation, by discussing their news, trends and insights with corporate decision-makers. Although we are in an unfavorable job market for job seekers, and desperation can arise when looking for jobs, the job search process does go both ways. As a job seeker, you need to review if the company you are applying to stands on high ethical and moral values, understands and appreciates diversity, seeks growth, treats its employees fairly, provides a product that truly satisfies a need and does not mock the customer, among other considerations. Knowing this will help you ensure that signing in with the company will be a decision you will not regret one day.

3- Develop a customized cover letter for each job posting
This does take hard work but is 100% necessary, if you want to get noticed. A canned cover letter could diminish your chances of achieving the interview, and worse than that, it might end up hurting you. To stand out from the crowd, an original but always professional cover letter can do the trick and get you an interview invite. It can demonstrate that you have gone further than just reading the ad, and learned what the company values, what the goals of the department you are applying to are, and how you can make a difference within that department. Each letter can take you an hour to complete, between research and the writing. But you will find that this is well-spent time that can bring great value to you as an applicant when seen from the eyes of a corporate manager who supports its organization. If you are able to effectively convey what you envision for the company and how you can make a difference, they could feel compelled to call you at least to ask you regarding ideas you have for the company and ways to implement them. If the company does not give you the job, they could consider you for a subcontracted project, and that represents an open door in itself.

4- Take time to customize your resume to the position you are applying for
When finding positions you have a lot in common with, do not limit yourself to customizing a cover letter. Go further and customize your resume to show that you have done several of the listed requirements for the position. This will help you get noticed for that job specifically, becoming a great candidate when showing that you have experience in several of the job characteristics.

5- Brand yourself
Through personal skills assessments available online at and 360 assessments such as the EduPlan 361, we are able to determine our strengths and how we can bring added value to any environment. It is the set or combination of attributes that each one of us has that allows us to make a difference within a specific company in a way no other professional will. Knowing what our unique combination of traits is proves extremely beneficial to create a compelling presentation of who we are and why we should be hired. When utilizing personal branding, we empower ourselves to effectively broadcast our differentiators and how they support corporate growth process for any cutting-edge company. We find self-assurance and learn how to project it, developing a favorable image that speaks for itself. Knowing ourselves well and expressing our unique combination of strengths will support us in standing out from the crowd.

6- Maintain a “winner” attitude
The job search process can be daunting. Finding the courage to face rejection and continue pushing through the process is of the essence, when seeking job search success. We must know that this is a process that will end in a job – sooner or later, we will find the right opportunity and a company will recognize us as the right person to be hired. However, usually, we will need to knock a lot of doors before one fully opens up for us. With a great attitude, high spirits and self-assurance, we will convince others of our skill, our leading and team collaboration capacity and interest in career growth.

Taking the job process as a full-time job + is a must these days. Forget the statistics, we must focus on our capacities and trust our perseveration, impetus and hard-work philosophy. The hiring decision cannot be controlled by the job seeker. However, being creative about the process and utilizing all available resources and time to proactively seek opportunities, while keeping a positive mind, are things we surely can grasp and that can make a big difference in the job search process. It is within us to take the steps to become successful job seekers and soon-to-be employees and corporate leaders.

Radio Interview on Job Search

Radio Interview to discuss Job Search, Personal Branding, how to differentiate yourself from the competition when looking for jobs!

Sorry – only in Spanish!

Entrevista radial con Eli Bravo y Claudine Vainrub, Principal de EduPlan, para conversar acerca de la busqueda de trabajo, como diferenciarse de la competencia, Branding Personal y como ser efectivo en conseguir empleo.

Interview with Eli Bravo on Job Search and Personal Branding- 3/11/09

Financial Aid Options and News

Financial Aid Options for College and Graduate School – What is available? Does it apply to me?

For most students applying for college and graduate school admissions, the battle is not yet over when their admission to their choice university is accepted. Achieving post-baccalaureate studies is expensive, so finding the resources becomes essential to achieve this goal. There are several options when considering financial aid and scholarships. Some are in the form of loans, some are grants and some merit scholarships, among others. Grants are financial aid awarded on the basis of need. Loans are another option, sometimes given by the U.S. government and its institutions, other times, by private lenders. However, they are known for placing a burden on the student, who incurs a debt upon completion of studies.

Students who have achieved excellence in academics, sports or some other fields can also apply for merit scholarships. Merit scholarships are awarded on the basis of several criteria. Some organizations look into factors like academic performance, achievement in athletics / sports or artistic abilities. Some others are awarded on the basis of special interests. The core idea is to reward talent.

There are scholarship programs for diverse students that aim to promote diversity within the university campus. Thus, if you are a diverse student and your credentials are on an even platform with mainstream students, you have a better chance of receiving a merit scholarship than students lacking international experiences, backgrounds and ethnicity.

Universities treat merit scholarship opportunities in different ways. Many times, we find that universities with large endowments will be able to provide more aid to students than others. As an example, Rice University states that it considers every admitted freshman for merit scholarships. Among several programs it offers, the University has two categories called Trustee Diversity Scholarships, and the Barbara and Jordan Scholarships, which have the purpose of encouraging diversity. Another two categories serve international students. Several other universities have similar programs, so the university you are joining could also be open to partially or fully funding your education.

When should you start your scholarship search? The answer is much before starting your graduate school admissions process. Scholarships can be granted many times a year in advance to the beginning of your studies. This is why starting early will provide a great advantage – you will not have to worry as much about finances as you would if you had already completed the admissions process without having earned any “free money”.

Institutions and companies are other sources to look for merit scholarships. The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS), established in 1999 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a well known example. GMS supports meritorious African American, Hispanic American and other diverse student categories. College and Graduate scholarships of GMS are available in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering, education and library science.

How do I find which scholarships are available to me? There are several scholarship search websites that are completely free to the student and will help you identify scholarships to which you can apply. Two of these sites are and

To learn more about how to apply to financial aid, fill out a FASFA and a CSS Profiler, the first one required by the government to provide assistance to students, you can go to

Now, what is yet to come from the new Obama administration?

With the initiatives put on the table by Barack Obama, we have a lot to look forward to regarding higher education affordability and financing. Obama has stated that his government will support tax credits for college education. He plans to institute soon a universal and fully refundable credit of $4,000 for a college education. Obama has also expressed he will cover two-thirds of the cost of tuition at public colleges. Finally, he has promised to make community college tuition free for most students. This will make college affordable to many more of us, looking to receive higher education.

The financial aid application process, as Obama states, will become much easier. At this point, many students and families struggle in filling out correctly the FASFA forms. This shall no longer be, as this form is planned to be substituted by a simple check box on the tax forms, to allow students not to fill out double applications.

President Obama is committed to make education a priority, and has asked the U.S. population to commit to receiving at least one year of college education. This is a hard task to achieve, as dropout rates for high schools in 17 out of the 50th largest cities in the U.S. were over 50% in 2008. Obama plans to address this dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school. These strategies will involve personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time. Programs will allow for better instruction in middle school and high school throughout the country. Incentives and more education opportunities for teachers, an increase in the amount of students taking AP courses through local community colleges, support of transitional bilingual education, will support students and the system itself to produce a better outcome than presently from the high school education years.

However, the opportunity is in our hands to believe that college education is important for us, and worth the time expense, financial burden and overall sacrifice. With all the planned incentives, these burdens will become smaller than ever before possible.

Although achieving one year of college education for the entire student population in the U.S. could be a far-fetched dream at this point, vocational schooling, skill training or career education is another alternative that could be considered. Statistics show that professionals that earn an associates degree or a bachelor’s degree do earn more over their lifetime than those who do not. An education is an investment that should sooner than later pay off financially and also, in terms of our society’s productivity.

The support will be there for those interested in pursuing their studies. Initiatives and programs to help students achieve a college education are already available and will be receiving more funding from the government. Some of these programs are the TRIO, Upward Bound and Gear Up. These initiatives work with students to provide help regarding academic advice, personal counseling, and career workshops; information on postsecondary education opportunities and student financial assistance; help in completing applications for college admissions, testing, and financial aid; coordination with nearby postsecondary institutions; media activities designed to involve and acquaint the community with higher education opportunities; tutoring; and mentoring.

As financing your college education is as important as achieving it, a new program will be launched also by the government to teach students financial planning. With a large part of the student populations currently buried in debt, this is one area that Obama’s administration plans to address, in order to start bringing a solution, and helping students effectively manage their loans. Bankruptcy amongst recent college grads has escalated, but will be addressed, providing financial education to new college students.

Some institutions already offering this help can be found at the U.S. Department of Education website at . The resources are here, available to us. There is no excuse now not to pursue an education. Whether you are a high school student, a college graduate or an adult, incentives, scholarships and aid apply to each one of us. The question is, what are we waiting for to take action today?

Study in USA

How to achieve college and graduate admissions as an International Student

Applying for a college or university in the United States is a big opportunity for many students from abroad. It’s actually quite exciting because you would be studying in a place so different from your own, which can be a very enriching experience. If you are an aspiring foreign student, you will need to look into many facets of your student application so that you get through the application process successfully.

worldAs a foreign student, you will find the college application process of colleges and universities in the United States to be somewhat different and at times more intricate than what you were used to in your country. So, to get things right, you need to closely follow all given instructions and ensure to submit your records, the way it is mentioned in your college application. If you are not clear on this point, your application will not be considered and this a great opportunity missed. In case English is not spoken in your country or your education has not been done in the English language, you must be aware of the special requirements in your case.

With so many requirements to understand, let’s break down the whole thing into steps, each of which will address a particular aspect of the foreign student college application process.

Understand the kind of demands from the College or University to which you are applying

In the United States, universities are classified into ‘High Selective’, ‘Selective’, ‘Moderately Selective’, and ‘Open Admission’.

As you can see from this classification, the admission process is a bit tough for those universities that are classified as High Selective’ and ‘Selective’, but fine for universities classified as ‘Moderately Selective’ and ‘Open Admission’.

When you are applying for a college in the United States, your preparations must be based on this classification, so that you can successfully gain admission. If your academic progress suit more of the Moderately Selective’ and ‘Open Admission’ type of college, accordingly apply to gain admission. Applying in demanding colleges may prevent you from joining a course of your choice.

How your record will be judged

Your qualifications for admissions will be judged by the university to which you apply, unlike other countries, where usually the Ministry of education carries out such decisions. Mostly, the University or College Staff will evaluate your records. However, your student records can also be evaluated by an agency specializes in such evaluations. If this is the case, the university to which you apply, will inform you of the same and you would have to send your records to this agency.

Getting Things Ready

Now that we have gone over the general scenario on college and universities in the United States, let’s get down the specifics involved in the application process:

  • Make a list of colleges and universities that offer the course you want. Get their application form and write out separately the requirements for admission. Each college has a different requirements, so do not assume what applies for one will do for the other.
  • The institution where you studied must send a copy of your academic records for evaluation to the colleges or universities to which you are applying. Do not send the records yourself as this is not considered proper procedure.
  • American universities require students from other countries to undertake standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT and SAT as part of the admission process. Ensure to take these tests and send in the results with your application.
  • If English is not your native language and if it your education was not in English in your country or region, you will be required to take an English proficiency test like Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Financial Part

Presenting your financial documents the right way is very important. In case you require A -1 or M-1 visa (student) or else if you require a J-1 visa (exchange visitor) visa , you need to show that you can financially support yourself, during your period of study in the United States.

Usually, when you apply to any college or university, you will be informed to provide necessary documentation on your financial status and also told what these documents should be with due verification.

Most foreign students will find the finance part of the education to be expensive. It definitely is. Students living in the United States have to pay an average $7,000 to over $40,000 a year towards their college education. So, be prepared for this. Aid is also not easy to come by. One alternative is considering enrolling into multi-ethnic student community college, wherein you have better chances of getting scholarships.

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