Help in Difficult Times

Job Fair

No one can ignore the recession: the statistics, the foreboding predictions, the overall sense of gloom dominating the news. At the risk of adding to all this, I have a few facts to share with you. Bear with me, though – there’s hope at the end.

In a world where 1.2 million more adults between 25 and 34 are living with their parents than four years ago, the population the OCCC serves stands at a significant disadvantage, when older, more experienced people are having such trouble that they have to move home. About a third of corpsmembers are parents; many struggle to make rent payments and do not have the luxury of living at home.

Young people in general have a higher unemployment rate than the average adult:

July 2011 Unemployment by Age Range

16-19-year-olds: 25%

20-24-year-olds: 14.6%

25-34-year-olds: 9.7%

Many corpsmembers have even more difficulty finding employment due to having a troubled past or a lack of skills and education. Jobs that require only on-the-job training have had the most significant losses between 2007 and 2009 according to the US Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Employment Statistics.

The OCCC, though, has given hundreds of youth a better chance. A high school diploma is one of the most valuable tools a person can have in order to find a job. Of the corpsmembers who have left the OCCC in the past year, 126 of them were working or attending school in the last month. Our Corps-to-Career class and job readiness workshops give corpsmembers the tools they need to get a job after they leave the program. We organize an annual Job, Education and Resource Fair to help them make connections with employers, colleges and other programs.

The OCCC worksite program trains corpsmembers in jobs they might never have had to opportunity to do. A great benefit of the worksite program is that it connects corpsmembers with employers for a trial period, and employers often hire them out of that relationship. Many people have been hired by these locations from the OCCC either through the worksite program or directly. In particular, Goodwill Industries has hired 41 corpsmembers in the last year. Goodwill and the other worksites have given these people a foothold into the workforce that will benefit them the rest of their lives. So, the next time the news gets you down, remember: people can overcome statistics.

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