I am sad that the Career Resource Center (CRC) in Lake Forest, IL is closing after 30 years. I was shocked to read that email. It was a great organization that helped so many white-collar professionals. 

I was lucky enough to also work with some of those professionals because I spoke there three times a year. 

The CRC was my favorite place to speak, and it was one of the first places I spoke after starting my business. The attendees were actively engaged and genuinely wanted to learn, which is what every speaker hopes for in an audience.  

Over the years, some of my best clients came from that organization. Because it was primarily staffed with volunteers, they weren’t able to do the deep-dive transformation work that professionals who have been through a bad business breakup, or who have worked in a toxic work environment, need. I would work with those professionals in conjunction with the CRC staff in those cases. 

I resonate deeply with this text from the CRC’s website:

Unemployed and underemployed workers are not just statistics; they are real people, seeking guidance and support. Whether seeking a career change, returning to the workforce after a break, having recently graduated from college, or experiencing the devastating effects of job loss, we cut through the turmoil and get families back on their feet assisting job candidates to find meaningful work.

That really hits me in the heart and is why I do my work in the world as well. 

Why did the CRC decide to close their doors after three decades of great work serving their community? From the email:

Career Resource Center has found that it is no longer bringing in the volume of clients necessary to justify the extensive monetary and time investments of donors, volunteers, advisors, and board members. The Board of CRC has therefore made the difficult decision to cease operations by the end of March 2023.

Although there are many underlying causes, the pandemic is perhaps the most significant in that it forced us to adopt a virtual approach to client communications, a less than optimal model. At the same time, the volume of new clients declined well below pre-pandemic levels due to an economic environment featuring historically low unemployment rates. As a result, we have lost not only a great number of clients but also many valued volunteers and critically important advisors.   

In addition, cutbacks by our diverse group of donors, from individuals to large corporations, has had a severely negative impact on CRC’s finances. Even during the best of times, CRC never enjoyed a solid financial underpinning, and now during lean times, that condition has become untenable.
(From CRC Newsletter #81)

Just another casualty of the pandemic? Maybe. 

Or an unusual job market where candidates didn’t feel like they needed help? Maybe. My revenue in my business was down 30 percent last year. Is that a coincidence? Is my business next? I don’t know. 

I do know that I will miss speaking there and working with their clients. 

I also know that their community will feel the loss of this great institution. It makes me sad, and likely will for a while. 

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash