May 28, 2010

Survey on poverty-related issues now posted online

An Ohio University class surveyed voters across the state earlier this year about their opinions on poverty and found that Ohioans want state leaders do more to help the poor. At the same time, though, Ohio residents differ in their opinions on how best to help the poor, according to the survey results. The survey asked Ohio residents about a wide range of issues related to poverty in Ohio. Click here to read the survey.

May 27, 2010

New summer employment program for Athens County residents between the ages of 14-24 now taking applications

The Subsidized Summer Employment Program For Youth is funded through the U.S. government’s stimulus package and will provide job opportunities and learning programs for the participants.

In order to be eligible for the program, participants must be Athens County residents between the ages of 14-24 and live in families who have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. In addition, the participants must live in families who have children in the household who are under the age of 18 (or 19 if the child is still in high school), be a non-custodial parent who is cooperating with the child support enforcement agency, or be pregnant.

All jobs are anticipated to begin in mid-June and be finished by the end of August. All positions pay $8 per hour, and there may be special educational programming for the participants. The participants will work up to 40 hours per week at locations all across Athens County.

Click here for an application, or pick up an application at any of the Athens County Job and Family Services offices, located at 184 N. Lancaster St. in Athens, 99 Connett Road in The Plains, The Athens County Home building on Ohio Rt. 13 between Athens and Chauncey, and The Work Station at 70 N. Plains Road in The Plains. For more information on this program call 797-2523 or click here.

May 26, 2010

Survey examines Ohio residents opinions on poverty-related issues

An Ohio University class surveyed Ohio voters about their opinions on poverty-related issues recently and found some very interesting results.

Representatives from the class, as well as representatives from Athens County Job and Family Services, will discuss the survey results at a Friday, May 28 press conference held at noon in Ohio University's Lasher Hall. Click here to read more about the survey and the press conference.

May 24, 2010

Life after prison can be very challenging

Click here to read about Dale, an Athens County resident adjusting to life after prison. It can be very difficult for ex-offenders to transition back into society, as many owe large sums of money in court costs and fines, many do not have their driver's licenses, many are unable to work in certain fields because of their felony convictions, and many face numerous other problems. Dale is facing several significant obstacles, but he is happy and is doing his best to live a normal life.

May 20, 2010

Director honored at Social Justice Awards ceremony in Athens

Athens County Job and Family Services Director Jack Frech received the Kuhre Griesinger Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 UCM Social Justice Awards ceremony in Athens recently.

Click here to read more about the awards ceremony and the other Athens area individuals and organizations honored during the evening.

May 10, 2010

College degrees will open new doors for Athens County couple

Click here to read about Nickie and Jerrod, an Athens County couple with one son. State budget cuts cost Jerrod his job, so now Nickie and Jerrod are both going to college so that they can find secure jobs that they enjoy. They go to school and work, and they also receive some assistance to help them get by. They know that they won't need the help for long, though, and that soon they will be starting new careers.

May 7, 2010

Transportation is a major barrier for many in southeast Ohio who are looking for work

Emily Ax works with a jobs program at the Good Works Shelter in Athens, where she helps area residents receive job training and find work. She attended the April 21 Job Fair in Athens and said that it was a good opportunity for area residents to make face-to-face contacts with local employers. She was a little disappointed that a few of the employers who planned to be there could not attend, but overall she was pleased with the event.

In her job at the homeless shelter, she sees several challenges for people trying to find work in southeast Ohio, and she explained that transportation is a major barrier for many people.

“Transportation is always an issue,” she said. Many people have the skills and training needed to work in different jobs, but the jobs in their fields are not available here or they do not have reliable transportation to get to work every day.

“I am grateful that there is a small transit system in Athens,” Ax said, adding that it is a big plus that the bus system travels to The Plains as well. If the public transportation system could ever be expanded in Athens County, it would be very helpful for many people, she said.

People in southeast Ohio will take jobs outside of their main skills or the fields they want to work in, simply because they need the work and the pay, Ax said. If they can find work in their fields, though, it is very uplifting for them.

May 5, 2010

More comments from area residents at the recent Job Fair in Athens

Christian Thomas works part-time in Athens County and is looking for full-time work. He has experience in many different fields and hopes that someone will give him a chance to get started on a career.

“To me, a job is different from a career,” Thomas said. A job is something you do for a while to pay the bills, while a career is working for a long time in one field that you enjoy, Thomas said. He talked to representatives from several different companies at the job fair, and is open to working in many different types of jobs. He is a quick learner, and hopes to find steady work and a new career that he enjoys.

“I like helping people,” Thomas said. It is a struggle now to pay all of his expenses, but Thomas said he is not discouraged that that money is tight right now. He expects to have to overcome challenges in life and is hopeful that he will be able to secure a full-time job and a steady income soon.

Justin Shields of Athens earned a degree in information technology in 2009 and has not been able to find work in that field yet. In the meantime, he has been working on his parent’s farm, but he wants to find a job soon working with computers.

“I need to start paying off my student loans,” Shields said. He had not been to a job fair before, and said it was helpful to be able to talk to the representatives from different companies at the Athens event.

He is hoping to find a job where he can use his creativity and computer skills, and said that he knows that he can be an asset to any company that hires him. He would like to also do consulting work for businesses and show them how they can use their computers more efficiently in order to save time and money.

May 3, 2010

Additional comments from area residents at the April 21 Job Fair held in Athens

Eric Heck of Athens has worked for several years for a local company, and enjoys the job. His company has been hurt by the country’s economic downturn, though, and has had to reduce its costs in the last few years. Because of the company’s need to cut back, Heck was laid off for a few months beginning in December 2008 and then was laid off again in December 2009.

“It is discouraging,” Heck said. He worked for the U.S. Census Bureau for a few weeks in 2009 and will be working for the U.S. Census Bureau again this summer. After that, he is hoping to get called back to his original job, but he does not know if that will happen or not.

He is trying to find steady, full-time work, and turned in a few resumes and applications to companies represented at the Job Fair, but he has not found anything yet. He is concerned about his job prospects, but is hopeful he will be working full-time again soon.

Meigs County resident Lora Langdon worked in home health care for 10 years, but had to stop working in that field because of an injury. She went back to school and earned a degree to work as a medical office assistant, but has not found job in that field yet.

While she is looking for a full-time job, she is working a service industry job in order to help pay the bills. Langdon needs a full-time position, though, where she can earn more money. If she can’t find work as a medical office assistant, she will consider going back to work in home health care in spite of her injury, simply because she needs the work and because there are jobs available in this field. She said she was happy to be able to talk to a few employers at the job fair, and added that she also picked up a few job applications for one of her relatives.