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Outreach Programs: The Profession’s Vital Missing Link

Jim McLoughlin


Outreach programming is the most vital service an organization can provide its employees or members because it redirects careers, stabilizes families and ensures that there will always be "career hope" through the most difficult of times. Outreach programming permeates the corporate and military worlds of employment for a good reason.



Outreach is a counseling program provided by employers, or their affiliates, where trained counselors support employees in the following ways: First - by making contact with recently dismissed employees and their families to maintain morale until lost careers can be restarted; Second - by helping dismissed employees restart their careers, or to initiate new careers; and Third - by helping retiring employees initiate second careers if they so wish.


Yet, by default outreach programming has not found a place within the world of the golf course superintendent from Day One. This despite the fact that superintendents are the most job threatened professionals throughout the free world beset by the ills that a persistent lack of written contract protection brings to the profession.



Unfortunately, outreach programming cannot be easily or quickly established throughout the superintendents' world because before such a program could get under way either trained counselors would have to be hired at the chapter level - a daunting task - or chapter Executive Directors would have to be trained to become effective outreach program counselors to their chapter members because there is nobody else continuously on the scene available to accept this responsibility.


The obvious entity that would have the motivation and be capable of sponsoring a national outreach training program for chapter Executive Directors would be GCSAA.


At some point GCSAA might consider amending its bylaws to mandate that its 100+ chapters commit to establishing outreach programming within a specified time period.




In the mean time pending the development of formal nation-wide chapter-based outreach programming, chapters should immediately consider initiating the following interim outreach programming because the need is constant:


1.  Establish an Interim Outreach Committee consisting of several mature superintendent (or retired superintendent) couples charged with the responsibility of making and sustaining contact with stressed chapter families recently forced into the unemployed world.


2. The first order of business in support of families where the superintendent has recently lost a job would be for a Committee male/female team to make quick contact with these families to let them know that their chapter peers care about them, are willing to listen to their concerns and that the Committee will provide ongoing counseling to help the bread winner in the family find a job.


The purpose of contacting families with a male/female team is the following: the man is primed to listen to the dismissed superintendent's career concerns; while the women is equipped to listen and provide solace to the mother's family concerns.


A willingness to listen to the plight of recently stressed families might be the most vital element outreach programs can provide because having some caring people available to tell their immediate concerns to: (i) brings immediate solace to stressed families who have need to be constantly reminded that there will always be light at the end of their tunnels; and (ii) opens the door to receive much needed career counseling advice.


3. Remind/educate the superintendents/families looking to find jobs to restart careers of the following:


a. That it is essential that job-seeking superintendents have quality personal and maintenance program web sites ready to use as they pursue new employment. Reminder: +/- 80% of new jobs are going to superintendents with effective web sires.


b. That it is equally as essential to follow the job application guidelines presented earlier within this blog series.


c. Because superintendents possess highly transferable skill sets, suggest to dismissed superintendents that they consider starting a new career while at the same time endeavoring to find another job as a superintendent. (See Nov 11th blog)


The jobless should always concurrently pursue both new employment and starting a new career or business when out of work.


Without outreach programming, the majority of out of work superintendents will find it unnecessarily more difficult to restart their careers - to the point where some will give up hope, with family disasters following. With outreach program counseling hope remains eternal.


Spread the word to the GCSAA and chapter Boards of Directors.


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