Dianne Horncastle has been a trainer for more than 30 years. About two months ago, right in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, she became ECHO of Brandon’s Opportunity Center director.
“I truly believe we all have a gift to share with the world and I am passionate about helping people discover what makes them great and aiming their talents toward their goals,” Horncastle said.
Residents from all over the Brandon community have turned to ECHO for help because they have become unemployed due to the pandemic.
“Many people have lost a job they have held for a number of years; the rules for finding a job have changed since they were last seeking a job,” Horncastle said. “ECHO offers Back-to-Work Labs that allow job seekers to work with a job coach to update their resume, practice interview techniques and navigate online job boards.”
In an attempt to meet its neighbors where they live, ECHO has added a Back-to-Work Lab to its Riverview campus, available from 10 a.m.-12 Noon on Thursdays. Its Brandon Back-to-Work Lab is on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 Noon.
“Neighbors can also call and make an appointment to meet with myself or our job coach,” Horncastle said. “Within the next few weeks, we will begin offering lunch and learn classes with timely topics that help people navigate the job market.”
ECHO is also in the process of creating an internship program with local businesses in the area.
“One of the programs that I am excited to get off the ground is an intern program,” Horncastle said. “The goal would be to identify local businesses that would be willing to bring in an intern for a short time. The intern would go through a few classes with ECHO to prepare for the job.”
Interns would then be placed for about six to 10 weeks, around 10 hours a week, with a business to learn a new skill.
“The hope would be that they leave with a new skill, new experience, maybe a permanent job and/or a very good reference letter,” she explained. “This type of program would be good for someone thinking about changing careers, wanting to dip their toes into a new career or someone needing experience or a reference for their resume.”
If you are interested in attending one of ECHO’s Back-to-Work Labs, visit www.echofl.org or call 685-0935. ECHO of Brandon is located at 507 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.