WBEZ | Hard Working http://www.wbez.org/series/hard-working Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hard Working: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-when-unemployment-benefits-run-out <p><p><strong>The unemployment rate in the Chicago area in July was 10.7 percent, higher than the national average. For many people, the search for work started months and months ago. As of last month, a third of job seekers in the country have been out of work for more than half a year. Chicagoan Carole Cantrell has been looking for work twice that long. Back in February, we brought you her story about </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=32268"><strong>piecing life together </strong></a><strong>as part of our series </strong><a href="www.wbez.org/hardworking"><strong><em>Hard Working</em></strong></a><strong>. Today, we check in. </strong><br> <br> If you heard Carole's story back in the winter you might remember that she's a 52-year-old woman looking for a graphic design job. She lives with her super-fluffy cat Romeo in a sparsely furnished apartment on Chicago's north side. So far, she's had no luck landing a permanent job; she does have a little freelance work.&nbsp; On the day I visit, she's designing a party invitation for a non-profit in Chicago.<br> &nbsp;<br> CAROLE: (on phone) ...the digital, you can do laser print...<br> <br> She's not getting paid for the invitation, but she's hoping it might help her get paid work later. Maybe someone with money to spend will see it and like it.<br> &nbsp;<br> Her hunt for work is now more than a year old. She's spent day after day, hour after hour since last June, &nbsp;reading job descriptions and sending cover letters for full time jobs and freelance work.<br> <br> Today…more frustration.<br> <br> CAROLE: It's early in the morning. I checked Craig's List and the Columbia website already, I didn't find anything. Some days there's nothing. It has slowed down.<br> <br> And money isn't good. She has a college loan that may go into default at the end of the month. She gets regular calls from school bill collectors.<br> <br> CAROLE6: What I think is kind of funny is that, well, I don't have anything. He said, 'They'll garnish your wages,' and 'I said, well, I don't have any wages.' I don't work for a company, I work intermittently and so I don't know. Maybe I should be scared. It'll ruin my credit. I don't want that, but it's not the end of the world. I'll pay cash. What can I do? If I don't have it, there is nothing I can do.<br> <br> The social safety net, set up to help people get through rough stretches, is showing its limits. A spokesman with the Illinois Department of Employment Security says thousands of people could exhaust their unemployment benefits in the next two or three weeks. And, by the end of the year, there could be 40,000 people no longer getting unemployment checks. The rough stretch just keeps stretching. Carole's unemployment insurance ran out in July.<br> &nbsp;<br> CAROLE: That was another day that made me want to cry.<br> <br> She was getting by with food stamps, but she made too much money doing a temporary job to keep them. Before food stamps ran out, she stocked her pantry with foods that don't spoil—like beans and pasta—even peanut butter.<br> <br> In many ways, her situation seems more precarious than it did in February. The backstop is gone. For the most part, she's on her own in this recession.<br> Still, surprisingly, maybe even ironically, she seems more positive than she has in the past.<br> <br> CAROLE: I think in general I have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and maybe just getting accustomed to the situation.<br> <br> She says she thinks sometimes about where Romeo the cat…who sprawls out on her chest while she works on cover letters…will live if she loses her apartment. But she's getting by. When the unemployment payments stopped she says she stopped thinking of herself as unemployed.<br> <br> CAROLE: I see myself as a freelancer now. It's like OK, here I am. It was always an option. I knew that going into this field and um I've always known that I'm very good at learning on the fly and that's what I've been doing. And I've been surviving that way. I'd like to take it beyond survival. That would be good.<br> <br> But she sees what she has now as a smidgen of success. She and her cat have a home, a place to live.&nbsp; They've made it this far. It's still incredibly stressful, sometimes she says it's just too hard to work on her art. She curls up in front of the TV instead.<br> <br> And the day to day strain of being without regular work remains. Carole still doesn't know where rent money or grocery money will come from next.</p></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-when-unemployment-benefits-run-out Hard Working: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/hard-working-when-unemployment-benefits-run-out <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090827_ahill_2222238_Hard_large.png" alt="" /><p><p><strong>The unemployment rate in the Chicago area in July was 10.7 percent, higher than the national average. For many people, the search for work started months and months ago. As of last month, a third of job seekers in the country have been out of work for more than half a year. Chicagoan Carole Cantrell has been looking for work twice that long. Back in February, we brought you her story about </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=32268"><strong>piecing life together </strong></a><strong>as part of our series </strong><a href="www.wbez.org/hardworking"><em><strong>Hard Working</strong></em></a><strong>. Today, we check in.</strong><br> <br> If you heard Carole's story back in the winter you might remember that she's a 52-year-old woman looking for a graphic design job. She lives with her super-fluffy cat Romeo in a sparsely furnished apartment on Chicago's north side. So far, she's had no luck landing a permanent job; she does have a little freelance work.&nbsp; On the day I visit, she's designing a party invitation for a non-profit in Chicago.<br> &nbsp;<br> CAROLE: (on phone)...the digital, you can do laser print...<br> <br> She's not getting paid for the invitation, but she's hoping it might help her get paid work later. Maybe someone with money to spend will see it and like it.<br> &nbsp;<br> Her hunt for work is now more than a year old. She's spent day after day, hour after hour since last June, &nbsp;reading job descriptions and sending cover letters for full time jobs and freelance work.<br> <br> Today-more frustration.<br> <br> CAROLE: It's early in the morning. I checked Craig's List and the Columbia website already, I didn't find anything. Some days there's nothing. It has slowed down.<br> <br> And money isn't good. She has a college loan that may go into default at the end of the month. She gets regular calls from school bill collectors.<br> <br> CAROLE: What I think is kind of funny is that, well, I don't have anything. He said, 'They'll garnish your wages,' and I said, 'Well I don't have any wages. I don't work for a company, I work intermittently and so I don't know.' Maybe I should be scared. It'll ruin my credit. I don't want that, but it's not the end of the world. I'll pay cash. What can I do? If I don't have it, there is nothing I can do.<br> <br> The social safety net, set up to help people get through rough stretches, is showing its limits. A spokesman with the Illinois Department of Employment Security says thousands of people could exhaust their unemployment benefits in the next two or three weeks. And, by the end of the year, there could be 40,000 people no longer getting unemployment checks. The rough stretch just keeps stretching. Carole's unemployment insurance ran out in July.<br> &nbsp;<br> CAROLE: That was another day that made me want to cry.<br> <br> She was getting by with food stamps, but she made too much money doing a temporary job to keep them. Before food stamps ran out, she stocked her pantry with foods that don't spoil—like beans and pasta—even peanut butter.<br> <br> In many ways, her situation seems more precarious than it did in February. The backstop is gone. For the most part, she's on her own in this recession.<br> Still, surprisingly, maybe even ironically, she seems more positive than she has in the past.<br> <br> CAROLE: I think in general I have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and maybe just getting accustomed to the situation.<br> <br> She says she thinks sometimes about where Romeo the cat, who sprawls out on her chest while she works on cover letters, will live if she loses her apartment. But she's getting by. When the unemployment payments stopped she says she stopped thinking of herself as unemployed.<br> <br> CAROLE: I see myself as a freelancer now. It's like OK, here I am. It was always an option. I knew that going into this field and um I've always known that I'm very good at learning on the fly and that's what I've been doing. And I've been surviving that way. I'd like to take it beyond survival. That would be good.<br> <br> But she sees what she has now as a smidgen of success. She and her cat have a home, a place to live.&nbsp; They've made it this far. It's still incredibly stressful, sometimes she says it's just too hard to work on her art. She curls up in front of the TV instead.<br> <br> And the day to day strain of being without regular work remains. Carole still doesn't know where rent money or grocery money will come from next.</p></p> Thu, 27 Aug 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/hard-working-when-unemployment-benefits-run-out Hard Working: Hiring Chicagoans and Chicago Subcontractors http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/hard-working-hiring-chicagoans-and-chicago-subcontractors <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090707_ahill_2231464_Hard_large.png" alt="" /><p><p><strong>The unemployment rate in the Chicago metropolitan area is nearly 11 percent. Governments are pumping money into building and construction projects to put people back to work—but, an analysis of contracts to build public schools in Chicago shows a lot of construction dollars head to businesses outside the city. WBEZ's Adriene Hill has been tracking who's getting jobs these days, as part of our series <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Cityroom_Series.aspx?seriesID=131"><em>Hard Working</em></a>.</strong><br> <br> Nelson Carlo is in the steel fabrication business—his company makes the metal skeletons that buildings are constructed around.<br> <br> CARLO: We take the steel we cut it, we punch it, we drill it, we weld, we assemble it and then from here it goes from the field to the project site.<br> <br> But not recently. He says they haven't touched a piece of steel in more than a month. We meet in his office on Chicago's South Side. Carlo says he's had to lay off about 32 employees. But he tells me, it's not entirely for lack of money in the market. There are public buildings being put up.<br> <br> He pulls out a big spreadsheet and flattens it on his desk.<br> &nbsp;<br> CARLO: This is schools and police stations that were bid. This is the school name, address. This is the general contractor who got it. And these are the subs they gave the work to.<br> HILL: Now can you read that list because we're on the radio?<br> CARLO: You got Munster Steel in Munster Indiana, Midwestern Steel, Hammond, Indiana, Scott Steel in Crown Point Indiana, and again Munster, Indiana. You even have the suburbs here—you have Melrose Park.<br> <br> Hiring non-Chicago companies to help build Chicago schools isn't isolated to Carlo's steel fabrication industry.<br> <br> WBEZ analyzed bid information for the 11 Chicago Public Schools with contracts that are currently being paid. Of the more than $320 million in subcontracts, less than of that quarter goes to companies with Chicago addresses.<br> <br> There are lots of reasons that this could be going on. Carlo says it has to do with costs of doing business in the city.<br> <br> Some contractors complain the industry is all about who you know and who knows you.<br> <br> Other people I spoke with said slow payment can keep contractors who know better away from the work.<br> <br> And UIC professor Rachel Weber has another theory:<br> &nbsp;<br> WEBER: It could be that that is just where those businesses are located.<br> <br> She says a huge number of manufacturing and service based businesses left the city for the suburbs starting in the in the early '70s. But, she says the most important thing for the city itself is whether contractors put Chicagoans to work.<br> <br> WEBER: When you hire local residents you're investing in a local economy. Those local residents are going to buying a home or renting a home in the city, they're going to be paying property taxes either directly or indirectly. They're going to be buying goods and services in the city of Chicago.<br> <br> With only 23 percent of the subcontracting work on schools going to Chicago subs—is there any way to know if that actually happens? If Chicago laborers are being left out of locally funded projects?<br> <br> The Public Building Commission of Chicago is the group responsible for the schools contracts we analyzed. No one with the commission was willing to for this story. But in a written response&nbsp;a spokesman&nbsp;addressed both the question of local hiring and of Chicago subcontractors.<br> <br> The building commission says it requires 50 percent of the work on contracts it awards go to Chicago residents.<br> <br> And just this May, the group addressed the dearth of local subcontractors on city projects. The new resolution requires Chicago based General Contractors to get a quarter of their subs from the city. General Contractors out of the city have to cross a higher hurdle—they need to give 35 percent of their subcontracting work to Chicago companies.<br> <br> It may not sound like a huge change—but it could mean more work and more dollars for Chicago contractors and their employees.</p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/hard-working-hiring-chicagoans-and-chicago-subcontractors Hard Working Coffee House: How to Start a Small Business http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-coffee-house-how-start-small-business <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/amp_090624_hardworking_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Has the economy got you thinking that it's time to create your own business? Why not tackle the global financial crisis head-on and become an entrepreneur? If you want to know more about where to start and what resources are available, this event is for you.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> <br> This&nbsp;community-building conversation was hosted by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and WBEZ business and economy reporter Adriene Hill.&nbsp;They talked with experts about how and where fledgling businesses can get help and what the federal stimulus plan means for aspiring entrepreneurs.&nbsp;<br> <br> <em><a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Cityroom_Series.aspx?seriesID=131" target="_self"><em>Hard Working</em></a></em> is an interactive series from WBEZ about jobs and joblessness. Using the radio, the internet, and face-to-face conversations, WBEZ starts and encourages conversations about work and unemployment. WBEZ follows job seekers through the ins and outs of the job hunt, finds out who's hiring and who's firing, and talks about what “work” means to you and to people around the region.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/JAHH-profile.jpg" title="" width="150" height="50"></p><p>Recorded Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/%20" target="_blank">Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>.</p></p> Wed, 24 Jun 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-coffee-house-how-start-small-business Hard Working Coffee House: Job Training http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-coffee-house-job-training <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/amp_090429_hardworking_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Out of work and ready to rethink your career? Interested in learning more about job training resources and opportunities? Listen in to our community-building conversation hosted by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and WBEZ business and economy reporter, Adriene Hill. Experts in job training programs discuss what resources and funding are out there and how to find them. They also explain education loans and repayment options.</p><p><span id="ctl00_content1_lblTranscript"><a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Cityroom_Series.aspx?seriesID=131" target="_self"><em>Hard Working</em></a> is an interactive series from WBEZ about jobs and joblessness. Using the radio, the internet, and face-to-face conversations, WBEZ starts and encourages conversations about work and unemployment. WBEZ follows job seekers through the ins and outs of the job hunt, finds out who's hiring and who's firing, and talks about what “work” means to you and to people around the region.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/JAHH-profile.jpg" title="" width="150" height="50"></p><p>Recorded Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/%20" target="_blank">Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>.</p></p> Wed, 29 Apr 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-coffee-house-job-training Hard Working: Training for Something New http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-training-something-new <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090410c_large.png" alt="" /><p><br> <br> <p><strong>The unemployment rate just keeps going up—which means more and more people are thinking about changing careers. There's money out there to help make that happen. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Illinois is in line for about 26 million dollars to help pay for adult employment and training programs. How's that working for Chicagoans? As part of our series <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/Cityroom_Series.aspx?seriesID=131"><em>Hard Working</em></a></em>, WBEZ's Adriene Hill went to find out.</strong>Donald Davis is learning to drive a truck.<br> &nbsp;<br> DAVIS: Now the main thing we have to do is put our seatbelt on.<br> <br> HILL: Fair enough.<br> <br> DAVIS: We have to do that.&nbsp;Here we go.<br> &nbsp;<br> He steers a tractor trailer around in slow circles in at a lot at <a href="http://oliveharvey.ccc.edu/">Olive-Harvey College</a>, one of the city colleges of Chicago. Davis is working toward a CDL-Class A license; it'll take about 200 hours in the classroom and behind the wheel. He's learning to do things like make those seemingly impossible turns big trucks make into little tiny spaces. Orange cones dot the practice lot.<br> <br> For Davis, who's 40, driving a tractor trailer isn't a huge career jump. He says he was laid off after 6 years driving for Allied Waste.<br> <br> DAVIS: I've driven big equipment before, but this is like the biggest of the biggest I've ever driven and I really like it, I really do.<br> &nbsp;<br> He's smiles when he tells me his height, and he's a little on the short side, is a part of why he likes being in the biggest truck on the road. He also just likes to drive.<br> <br> Davis's training costs, nearly $5000 are being paid for with a grant from a federal program called the <a href="http://www.doleta.gov/USWORKFORCE/WIA/act.cfm">Workforce Investment Act</a>—or WIA. And WIA is only one part of a giant acronym soup of grants, organizations, and resources available to unemployed people.<br> <br> HANSON: It's vast.<br> <br> Dave Hanson is the executive director of the Business Development Services division of the <a href="http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/portalEntityHomeAction.do?entityName=Workforce+Development&amp;entityNameEnumValue=44">Chicago Department of Community Development</a>. (I did say this was complicated.) &nbsp;He explains what the city calls “Mayor Daley's Worknet Chicago," which helps coordinate resources for city residents.<br> <br> HANSON: That consists of five workforce centers, two workforce centers for business, then 20 other smaller delegate agencies, feeder systems and training providers.<br> &nbsp;<br> In the city alone there are about a hundred of those training providers, many of which have multiple courses. And, Chicago's not the only place to go for help. There are similar workforce networks around the state.<br> <br> So how did Davis navigate from being laid off to learning to drive a truck for free? Step by step.<br> <br> One) He went into an unemployment office to get benefits. Two) A caseworker there suggested he go to one of Chicago's workforce centers. Three) At the workforce center he was given an evaluation and they Four) suggested Davis meet William Nixon who helps match people to training.<br> <br> NIXON: I went out to the office Mr. Donald Davis was from and we did an orientation about the program itself.<br> <br> Nixon tries to figure out who's really committed to the trucker's life, who'll make a good candidate, so Five) Nixon and Davis talked one on one.<br> <br> NIXON: He said to me he was willing to do what it took even though he has a family, which was a concern of mine, to have a family and be a truck driver means you are going to be away from them a lot. But he convinced me that he was willing to do what it took to get the training and then from there to acquire a job as a truck driver.<br> <br> And Six) After some research Davis registered for WIA funding at Olive- Harvey College—and started studying for his trucking license.<br> <br> The path to training and funding can seem a bit like a layer cake of people and bureaucracy. But for truck-driver-to-be Davis, the system got him to a good place.<br> <br> DAVIS: It's not complicated, it's just a matter of staying focused on what you have to do. When they ask you to go do something you have do it. When you have a question, calling and asking instead of assuming. So I mean you have to just be thorough.<br> &nbsp;<br> When he gets his Class A license he feels pretty good about the likelihood he'll get a job--there's always trucking he says. But he doesn't expect to make as much starting out as he used to.<br> <br> I ask him how he thinks about this time in his life.<br> &nbsp;<br> DAVIS: Me myself, I'm a God fearing man so I have faith. So for me to say I would really worry about it, I don't concern myself with it. I focus on what I have to do and do it.<br> <br> It's that focus that got him here, to this class with WIA funding, instead of, as he says, on his couch, grumbling about being laid off.<br> <br> Over the next few months, we'll stay in touch with Donald Davis, to see if the training gets him the job he's working toward.<br> <br> <strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=33407">Job Training Resources</a><br> <br> <em>Music Button: Jay Farrar, "Open Ground", from the The Slaughter Rule: Original Soundtrack, (Bloodshot records)</em></p></p> Fri, 10 Apr 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-training-something-new A Hard Working Story About Hardly Working http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-story-about-hardly-working <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090408h_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>These days, everyone knows somebody hurt by the sagging economy. By February of this year, the Chicago metropolitan area had lost more than 126,000 jobs, compared to February last year. As part of our <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/hardworking"><em>Hard Working </em>project</a>, we recently co-hosted an information coffeehouse about searching for work. It was held at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on Chicago's West Side. Some of those who attended stopped by a booth we'd set up, and agreed to share with us their stories of unemployment. Or, in the case of Nancey Epperson, underemployment.<br> <br> <strong>Related:</strong><br> <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Event_Detail.aspx?eventID=1356">Hard Working Coffee House: Job Training</a></p></p> Wed, 08 Apr 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-story-about-hardly-working Hard Working: Free Labor, Not Always an Easy Sell http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-free-labor-not-always-easy-sell <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090324c_large.png" alt="" /><p><p><strong>As the economy sinks and the ranks of the unemployed swell, more and more people are looking to volunteer. It can be a great way to meet new people, help others in need, and get out of the house. You might think all the free, skilled labor would be a boon to non-profit organizations, but it turns out the reality can be a little more complicated.</strong><br> <br> The <a href="http://www.northernilfoodbank.org/">Northern Illinois Food Bank </a>in St. Charles has so many volunteers these days that it's booked up for Saturdays until June. People come in to sort food and put it in boxes.<br> <br> For an organization like the food bank, the volunteer influx is great. Training new people is fast and easy:&nbsp;a quick video, a&nbsp;short explanation, and off they go.<br> <br> MILNE: The only commitment we ask them to make is to stay for that 3 hours. If they can come every week that's amazing. If they can come twice a week that's more amazing. But if it's once a month or a Tuesday morning this week or a Wednesday next week we work with that.<br> <br> Volunteer Coordinator Tia Milne&nbsp; says some of the volunteers are responding to the need they see on the news and in their community.<br> <br> But a big part of the volunteer swell is made up of people who are out of a job, looking for something to do. Many with a&nbsp;lot to offer. It turns out they might not find a lot of organizations willing or able to use their skills.<br> <br> WEISBROD: Do you want volunteers that are here today and gone tomorrow?<br> <br> That's Professor Burton Weisbrood. He teaches economics at Northwestern University. He says volunteer labor isn't free for organizations. For places where you do more than pack boxes, there can be significant costs to training and integrating volunteers into a workplace. People in the middle of a job hunt may not be the best bet.<br> <br> WEISBROD: Those people are not people that you want to invest a lot of time and energy in, in training them much, because the training costs you time and effort. And if tomorrow or next month or two months for now if they get a job and find something better to do, they leave.<br> <br> The costs to an organization of bringing out-of-work people in as volunteers can outweigh the benefits.<br> <br> WEISBROD: People who want to volunteer their high level skills are very likely to be disappointed.<br> <br> BERMAN: The general rule of thumb is that a volunteer cannot do a staff job.<br> <br> Shawna Berman is the manager of volunteer services at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dupageco.org/convo/index.cfm">DuPage Convalescent Center</a> in Wheaton. Her volunteers talk and listen with residents, they deliver mail, they can help push residents from their room to physical therapy. She asks most adult volunteers for at least a 6 month commitment. The selection process is significant; it involves an interview, a background check, training and orientation.<br> <br> BERMAN: I think the biggest challenge is that we have a lot of people that are unemployed. They are looking to fill gaps in their resume. They are looking for job experience, trying to gain some experience in the health care industry. So we see a lot of people who are trying to get something out of it as much as we are trying to get something out of them.<br> <br> Berman says she tries to find ways for interested volunteers to fit in at the organization because she does need and want people to help out. But sometimes she has to point people to other places. In the end, she has to do what's right for her workplace.<br> <br> BERMAN: It's frustrating to go through that whole process and then find out, boom, you don't have a volunteer when it's all said and done.<br> <br> It's a calculation that many non-profits are forced to make. And a reality that may make it hard for the unemployed-professional to land a volunteer position that will allow her to use or develop the skills she has. Sometimes, especially in this economy, it's not as easy as walking in and helping out.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-free-labor-not-always-easy-sell Hard Working: Taking Control http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-taking-control <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090306c_large.png" alt="" /><p><p><strong>The&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.bls.gov" target="_blank"><strong>Bureau of Labor Statistics</strong></a><strong> will release new unemployment numbers first thing Friday morning. As part of our series <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/hardworking"><em>Hard Working</em></a></em>, WBEZ's Adriene Hill brings us the story of one woman who recently lost her job, and is trying to make sense of what it means to have been let go.</strong><br> <br> <strong>Event:</strong><em> </em><a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Event_Detail.aspx?eventID=1263"><em>Hard Working</em> Coffee House</a><br> <strong>Related:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/ECONOMY?SITE=WBEZELN&amp;SECTION=POLITICS&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT">Jobless rate up to 8.1 percent, 651K jobs lost</a><br> <br> I've been talking with a lot of people lately about being laid off from work. And, of all those people, few seemed to love their job as much as Liz Kidera. She used to help design exhibits at Chicago's Field Museum.<br> <br> LIZ: Everyday I walked up those steps and went I'm so lucky to be here. I am so lucky to have this job. I don't care what this job pays.<br> <br> It was her dream job. Liz says she knew back in September that she wasn't going to have work after the end of the year. And when she tells me about her last day at the job, her description is as clear as if it just happened.<br> <br> LIZ: I actually saved, I had one drawing to do for a photo show that opens in a few weeks and I saved that drawing to do that afternoon after every left. And I literally savored it. Getting to do that work just one more time and getting to be in that spot. I didn't intentionally set out to commemorate that but I realized that day that I'm not in any hurry now. I want to be here as long as I possibly can without being weird...staying until midnight or something. <em>Laugh.</em><br> <br> Liz says she felt disposed of, she felt depressed, she felt angry. So she made buttons, the kind you pin on your jacket. They say "I lost my job due to Wall Street Greed". She bought a badge a minit so they'd look more professional.&nbsp;<br> <br> LIZ: This is the cutter and this is the disc, I wanted to be visible and I didn't want to be ashamed. This is what it looks like, this is what a person affected looks like. I look like your neighbor and your teacher and everybody else.<br> <br> Unlike a lot of people, Liz has some savings. She doesn't have any debt or a mortgage to pay, so for her the stress of being fired has been more emotional then financial. Losing her job made her question who SHE is.<br> <br> LIZ : It's been a huge revelation, first of all this has become a time…I'm going to get emotional now…where I learn to value myself on my own terms because I depended so much on the value I held as them employee. That's what I took pride in, that's how I identified myself. When you lose that, that's very hard.<br> <br> Now, months after the layoff, it's getting easier.&nbsp;She's taking control of her life- She exercises nearly every day at the Evanston YMCA. Twice a week she works out with a trainer.<br> <br> Taking care of her physical self-becoming stronger is one way she's started thinking about what she appreciates about her new situation and about herself. Liz keeps a list of things she wants from life on a note, that she wrote years ago, tacked to a bulletin board at her home.<br> <br> LIZ: Order, order in my house…order in my life…happy…<br> &nbsp;<br> The list goes on.&nbsp;And right now, Liz says, she has a lot of those things. She also just recently got some freelance work-doing what she loves-designing museum exhibits.<br> <br> LIZ: OK, so I'll tell you something that's really shows the kind of character I have. I don't even know what he's going to pay me. <em>Laugh.</em></p></p> Fri, 06 Mar 2009 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-taking-control Hard Working: College Grads Seek Employment http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-college-grads-seek-employment <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090304d_large.png" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Even college degrees don't guarantee a job in this economy. According to unpublished data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics—college grads between the ages of 20 and 24 had a 7.7 percent unemployment rate in January of this year—that's a touch higher than the national average, and significantly higher than the 4.1 percent unemployment rate of older college graduates.&nbsp;<br> &nbsp;<br> As part of our series <em>Hard Working</em>, WBEZ's Adriene Hill recently sat down with three 20-somethings to find out how the recession is altering their plans and dreams.</strong><br> <br> I recently asked a trio young people—<a href="http://www.fmoliver.com%20" target="_blank">Morgan Oliver</a>, <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeannepower" target="_blank">Jeanne Power </a>and Graham Troyer-Joy, all with college degrees—to get together at a café in Chicago to talk with me and each other about the economy.</p></p> Wed, 04 Mar 2009 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hard-working-college-grads-seek-employment