Apr 30, 2010

Job Fair attracts more than 500 people looking for work

More than 500 people attended the Area 14 One Stop Job, Career and Information Fair in Athens on April 21, and several of the job seekers talked about how the country’s economic problems have hurt their job prospects.

Robert Boggs of Athens explained that he currently works in manufacturing, but the work is only part-time and the hours and pay vary greatly. Business has been slow lately for the company he works for, so his hours and pay have been reduced.

“The economy is down,” Boggs said. He would like to work full-time in a factory, but there aren’t many of those jobs in the region. He applied for a few jobs with factories at the Job Fair, and said he was pleased with the different employers he was able to visit.

Boggs explained that he does not want to work in a service industry job that deals with the public, but he has applied for a few of these jobs recently because he needs the work.

“I’d rather just put my head down and work all day making things,” Boggs said. It has been discouraging to not be able to find a full-time job, and it has been hard on him financially, too.

“It’s pretty rough,” Boggs said. “I’m about ready to move back to the city.” He used to live and work in Chicago, but moved to Athens to help take care of a sick relative. He likes living here, but will have to move soon if he can’t find steady work.

Boggs is just one of many people at the Job Fair who talked about how they lost their jobs because of layoffs, health problems or other reasons, or how they have had trouble finding work after graduating from high school or college. Over the next week, we will post additional comments from several of these people.

Sarah Williams represented one employer at the Job Fair, as she worked in the booth for Bellisio Foods of Jackson. Bellisio Foods is currently hiring for several different positions working in the company’s plant, and Williams said she talked with many different people who were looking for work at the job fair. She was pleased that she was able to talk to so many potential employees, and said the Athens job fair is a very good event.

“It is so organized,” Johnson said.

Laurel Lindamood and Lindsay Mayle represented Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc., of Athens at the Job Fair, and they also said it was a good opportunity to talk to a large number of potential employees. At the 2009 job fair, their company had open positions that they were able to talk to area residents about, but this year they did not have any open positions. Lindamood and Mayle did talk to several people who are interested in working for the company when positions do come open, and they were able to explain more about the work the company does. They also told people to watch their Web site, http://www.dhiusa.com/about_us/careers/ for information on job openings and how to apply.

Apr 22, 2010

Earning her GED, planning for college and building a better life for her daughter

Erica is overcoming some substantial barriers in order to provide for a better life for her daughter, and she has big plans for her future.

Erica, who is 21, lives in Nelsonville with her two-year-old daughter. Her life is not easy and she does not have enough money to pay all of her bills each month, but she’s doing whatever she can to get by and become more independent.

Erica dropped out of school when she was in high school, and that decision has made life tough for her.

“It was a stupid mistake,” she said about leaving school. She was not able to get a good job because she did not have her high school diploma, and she said it is degrading to be labeled as a “high school dropout.”

She ended up enrolling in the Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE) program at The Work Station in The Plains, and recently passed her GED test. She is very happy to have her degree, and plans on taking part in the ABLE graduation ceremony in June. The ceremony is for all of the students who have received their GEDs in the last year, and it is always an emotional and inspirational event.

It took a lot of work to prepare for the GED test, but Erica has enjoyed her time in the ABLE program and now wants to study psychology at Hocking College. Her first priority is to get a job, though, and to become more independent. Currently, she and her daughter receive $365 per month in Ohio Works First cash assistance, in addition to receiving Food Assistance Program benefits and medical benefits.

Her rent is $300 per month, and that takes nearly all of the cash assistance each month. Her boyfriend and mother help pay her utility bills and some food expenses, so Erica has $65 each month to pay for diapers and clothing for her daughter, and extra expenses that arise.

“I can’t buy anything,” she said. She is hoping that all of that will change when she gets a job, and she knows that she is on the right path. She took the first step when she enrolled in the ABLE program, and another giant step when she earned her GED.

Erica is smart and has a great attitude, and she is motivated to build a better life for her daughter. In time, she’ll get to where she wants to go in life, she just needs the assistance she is receiving now in order to help her on her way.

Apr 9, 2010

Applications now available for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Athens County senior citizens who meet certain income requirements can now apply for coupons worth up to $50 to be used at the Athens Farmers Market. Click here to read more about the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and to find out how to apply.