JA unveils career outreach initiative

Jewelers of America on Sunday officially unveiled its new outreach program to attract young people and career changers to a career path in the jewelry industry, with JA representatives saying that the initiative is needed because cultural changes in the industry and the country is depleting its traditional base of personnel growth: The family.

“It is obvious that our traditional job pool has dried up,” David Peters, JA director of education, said during a press conference at the JA New York Show. “The family has traditionally been the base of job replenishment, but today’s culture has killed that.”

The new recruitment effort is called, “Careers in the Jewelry Industry,” with Matt Runci, JA President and CEO, calling the initiative “an important event for me, for Jewelers of America, and for GIA,” a principal sponsor. “By taking an active approach in recruiting, we will ensure that our industry attracts high-caliber individuals. Having hard-working, intelligent, dependable individuals join our ranks will be a tremendous asset for our industry for many years to come.”

The program consists of a comprehensive guidebook explaining careers in the jewelry industry, a brochure for mailings, the use of JA members to link the printed material, and a Web presence on the JA Web site (www.jewelers.org).

“Careers in the Jewelry Industry is unique because it is a member benefit that reaches outside the store walls,” Peters said.

The guidebook describes ten different career paths (store manager, sales associates, bench jeweler, mass manufacturer, wholesaler/importer, appraiser, watchmaker, designer, laboratory grader, and educator). It includes job profiles, general salary expectations, and career resources. The brochure serves as a condensed version of the guidebook that will be mailed to high schools, junior colleges, and adult career counseling centers, and JA member stores throughout the country.

The final component will involve the 10,000 JA members to talk at schools, set up tables at career fairs, and otherwise provide a human element to the printed materials in their communities.

“Our goal is to link a school with a JA member,” Peters said. “And to tie the printed material with a name and face, either the store owner or salesman, and to have that person set up a table at the school’s next career event.” Peters adds that the goal of the program is to have a presence at 10,000 career fairs in five years.

Kathryn Kimmel, GIA’s VP of marketing and public relations, said at the press event that GIA’s support comes from a need to attract more people to the jewelry industry. “We need more people out there to consider the jewelry profession,” Kimmel said. “Right now we don’t think it is even being considered by many people.”