Long-term unemployment affects people of all ages and economic backgrounds, said Robert Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.
âWho are they? Well, theyâre everybody,â Borremans said. âItâs not based on race. Itâs not based on age.
âAt 26 weeks of unemployment each of them are going to bring in a different barrier of some type, and we really try to figure out what that is so we can fix it.â
The Rock County Job Center has been a helpful resource, Enis said.
âIâve pretty much updated my resume. I just emailed two jobs in Madison âŠ and I downloaded information about two other jobs today,â Enis said earlier this week as he used a job center computer.
The center includes a resource room where people can search for jobs on a computer, view job postings and get help to develop cover letters and resumes. The center offers workshops on interviewing skills, resume writing and completing a job application.
âOur staff that works with unemployed workers really has a toolbox of knowledge and skills to help them,â Borremans said. âItâs just to get them to realize that what theyâve done for 26 weeks hasnât worked, so they need to come in and see what we can do for them.â
Case management services, one-on-one job counseling and job assistance programs for veterans and people with disabilities also are available.
âWe can deal with a wide variety of people and provide them with the kind of assistance to help them find a job,â Rhonda Suda, Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board operations manager, said. âAnyone who has struggled to find employment, that one-on-one assistance from somebody who is objective, who doesnât know that person, it really becomes invaluable.
âSometimes that person needs someone who is objective or sometimes that person needs a reality check or some re-enforcement. I canât really say enough about the one-on-one job seeker-employment specialist relationship. Itâs invaluable.â
The workforce development board, located in the job center, recently received a $292,500 grant to develop on-the-job training programs for people who are considered long-term unemployed. Suda said the grant will allow the board to help at least 75 people.
The workforce development board also works closely with other employment assistance agencies to help people find work and to obtain training.
âWe also work with Manpower, so we have access to the more than 6,000 training courses they have in their training development center,â Borremans said. âMany of those (training programs) are available online, and the person can take them anytime they have the time or availability. We have almost a limitless pool of resources for people.â
Why do some remain unemployed?
Several factors, including a lack of training or education, could cause someone to stay unemployed for a prolonged period, Borremans said.
âWorkforce skills are changing. Employers are looking for a higher level of ability. Gone are the days when an individual can get a high school diploma and go in and get a good-paying job at a manufacturing center,â Borremans said. âNow, manufacturing is very technical. The skills that are needed are very much different. So, someone who doesnât have the skills that employers are looking for (is) either going to be retrained or theyâre going to be unemployed.â
Errors on resumes and cover letters, long gaps in employment history or a job seekerâs attitude about unemployment also can contribute to long-term unemployment, Suda said.
âIf thereâs ways (employers) can exclude resumes either through a typo or error, they will. Or if someone hasnât been employed for a certain amount of time, (the employer) will think that theyâre not actively engaged in their job search, and that may eliminate them,â Suda said.
âLetâs say they have experience in bringing in someone who has been unemployed for awhile and maybe the interview didnât go that well because the person really was still stuck in that mindset that they shouldnât have been unemployed in the first place. They havenât gotten over that hurdle, or that feeling of loss came out in interactions with perspective employers.â
Borremans said some employers are more likely to hire younger workers.
âThe feeling is the experienced set of workers, who would bring in 25 or 30 years of experience, is not as beneficial as it once was, and theyâre more interested in bringing in younger people with skills more in line with workforce needs and who they perceive as being more flexible,â Borremans said.
Some employers prefer to âbring in a younger, more flexible and more competent-to-technology kind of workforce,â he said.
Some who are unemployed for a period of months become discouraged and even give up seeking work, Borremans said. What they should do is keep searching, consider schooling or even do volunteer work in the community.
âYou donât want periods of inactivity,â Borremans said. âYou want to be showing that youâre doing something, whether itâs volunteering or some home project or even if itâs a project where you get paid not through a paycheck but through a bartering system or some other payment method.
âWe see a lot of underground employment going on where you do have a job and they pay you in cash.â
Suda said it also is important for people to consider their strengths and the efforts they have made in their employment search.
âIf you held a position for five or 10 years and you find yourself unemployed or you go through a lot of periods of unemployment, it certainly does something to your confidence and to your motivation,â Suda said. âSome people will become really upset, and they will go right from that process to apathy, and as soon as they hit apathy, they get that feeling of âNo matter what I do, itâs not going to work.â Our workers tell people that they have to concentrate on the positives and concentrate on what theyâre doing right.â