Pat Craddick left Wall Street to spend more time with her daughter, a public school student. But she discovered that her support was also needed elsewhere: many public school parents were missing a place where they could learn to write resumes, prep for interviews and look for jobs.
So Craddick created ParentJobNet, a nonprofit organization that provides public school parents with various career advancement services.
“The mission is to prepare, educate and connect parents of public school children with job opportunities and to help them become financially self-sufficient so their children can succeed in school and outside of the
school,” Craddick said.
She started the website in 2004 out of a local Starbucks with just her cell phone and laptop. The program has since expanded into more than 100 schools in the Upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights. Craddick hopes to bring ParentJobNet to the rest of the city and nation, but she is taking it slow—she wants to make sure each neighborhood and school gets the right resources.
ParentJobNet has four basic programs, and all are free to public school parents and caregivers. AccessClassifieds gives parents a place to look for a job or post an employment offer. Parents can also look for work at AccessNetworking events. There are two types—a formal wine and cheese gathering, and a casual coffeehouse meeting—and attendees are an eclectic bunch, from Harvard MBAs to stay-at-home moms, Craddick said.
For parents who are new to the workforce, AccessTraining helps them through the entire process, from resume writing and interviewing techniques to budgeting and credit management. Another program, AccessEnglish, helps parents who are non-English speakers.
“We take a holistic view in terms of help and to better the lives of parents,” Craddick said. “Because bottom line is, if a parent is out of a job, the child feels it.”
Dana Mindlin is program director at ParentJobNet. Like Craddick, she came from the corporate world, but the transition has been easy because of Craddick’s support.
“The more I work with her, the more I respect her,”Mindlin said.
For Craddick, one of the best parts of ParentJobNet is that it operates directly in New York City public schools.
“We’re trying to get parents to be more engaged in schools. That way, they can help their children, they can feel more comfortable coming to school,” she said. “We make it friendly.”
And while her current work is very different from her previous job on Wall Street, Craddick welcomes the change.
“My family and I, we go away, we like to travel, and I take my computer when I need to work. I sit by the beach or wherever,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it because I don’t like to be tied down in a nine-to-five job.”
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