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St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Daniel Sentell begins new role as Coordinator for Jewish Community Employment Services

Daniel Sentell

Daniel Sentell is a native New Yorker, father of 10, former rabbi, and now the new coordinator of Jewish Community Employment Services.

Before moving to St. Louis seven years ago with his family, the Yeshiva University alum was working in the financial sector while serving as a rabbi in his spare time. For the last several years, he worked as a consultant for a variety of non-profits and businesses, up until March 2023 when Sentell was hired for this position.

Sentell has been working to grow the program, which helps people who are unemployed or transitioning into a new career. His previous rabbinical and business experiences intersect to help him provide full-scale support to Jewish community members who are on a job search.

“Rambam writes that finding a person a job is the highest form of charity,” Sentell said. “We tie up so much of our self-perception in the work that we do, so when that goes away, our belief in ourselves tends to take a big hit. So, being able to restore that to a person in a way that’s positive and confidential, but also uplifting, it’s one of the best things you can do. You take a person who needs the help and wants it, and you actually deliver it for them.”

He noted that in his past rabbinic role, he was able to help people out through emotional support. However, in this role, he can also help through his supply of resources and connections.

“People get stuck in their job search, and I specialize in helping them figure things out,” said Sentell. “Sometimes they just need a better resume. Some people need mock interviews. Those are some of our services. And, what we have is the Jewish community itself. We have an extensive confidential network of Jewish employers in St. Louis, who are willing to help their fellow St. Louis Jewish community citizens in finding work.”

Right now, there are about 40 contacts, but Sentell is hoping to build that up to around 200. To expand the network of employers and businesses who may be able to help staff local Jewish community members, Sentell is planning a speaking tour across local synagogues to pitch the program. This will also spread the word to people who may need to utilize the service.

“A lot of people don’t want to come in because they do not want to necessarily have to utilize social services, which is 100% understandable. But this service is much more of a job positive, get connected, get hired, networking, kind of program,” said Sentell. “We have good tools to help people move forward. And we’re seeing a lot of success.”

Sentell says that the demand comes in waves, but he is typically looking for between 8-20 people at a time. Not everyone utilizes the full service. Some come for resume work or figuring out LinkedIn, but others want help with the entire job search process. He has placed around 50 people so far.

“You really work with the individual,” he said. “A lot of times, people get stuck at jobs that they don’t want to be in, but because their skill set has been molded by the job that they’re in, they’re not sure how to go somewhere else. So that’s one of the things that drives a person to come to an office like mine.”

Sentell works with each person to think about what they would like to do and if they have the skill set to find a role in their area of interest. If they don’t have the skillset, he can help people find training or educational options so they have the background to pursue their passion.

“If they would like to break into a new field, we do have options for leveling up their skill sets or educational options. I have a contact at St. Louis Community College, and they have several courses for adults who want to switch careers, the Accelerated Learning Program. There are also things like coding boot camps, such as LaunchCode.”

The Jewish Community Employment Services program is 100% free thanks to funding from the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and is located at MERS Goodwill’s Career Center in Brentwood. People can call to make an appointment and meet Sentell in his office. No application is needed.

Any St. Louis Jewish community member is welcome to utilize these services. The job candidates Sentell serves range from entry-level recent college graduates to senior citizens. The types of jobs he searches for also span a wide variety.

“Currently, I’m looking for a sales manager, a computer programmer, and one who wants to break into the film industry. A lot of administrative positions, too. It’s certainly across the spectrum in terms of what people would like to do.”

For more information or to team up with Sentell as an employer offering positions, contact him at 314-646-2257 or [email protected].

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