Job seekers share their research stories in the tough COVID-19 market

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Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a four-part series that examines how businesses and workers cope with a labor shortage.

Kim Porter has spent over a year trying to find a job like the one she lost due to the pandemic.

Without a friendly relationship with Sundee Porter (no relationship) of Holmes County Job and Family Services, the Green resident could still be looking for work.

Job and Family Services and OhioMeansJobs.com are one avenue that job seekers can use when trying to find a position that meets their career goals.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in July, down from 5.2% in June, with 301,000 workers unemployed, according to data from the state’s Department of Employment and Family. While there are many jobs available in Ohio, finding a secure, well-paying position with opportunities for advancement can be difficult.

Porter, whose job search is ongoing, and another local resident who has found a new career path, share their stories.

Workers Part 1:A labor shortage already existed for most industries, the pandemic made it worse

Find Jobs:Ashland, Holmes and Wayne work together to help unemployed people find jobs in new industry

On track to find a job

Porter had nearly three decades of management and administration experience when she lost her job at Med Spa in Green when COVID-19 shut down many businesses.

She works part-time at a Med Spa in Cleveland while she searches for a full-time job.

“Since I lost my job in March 2020, getting interviews has been the hardest part; getting people to stand up and pay attention to my experience.”

She sent hundreds of CVs and passed a dozen interviews.

“When you’ve been in the workforce for as long as I’ve been, it’s frustrating,” Porter said. “I have 30 years of experience, and some people don’t want to pay for it. I was pretty open and flexible about the pay for the most part, and I think the fact that I’m turning 60 might have something to do with it. to do with this. “

Porter wasn’t afraid to commute for 30 minutes, but finding a full-time position with benefits proved difficult.

“I have all this management experience. It was hard to go from $ 5,000 a month to nothing,” she said.

Porter broadened her horizons and was ready to try a new field, but she felt more comfortable working in the healthcare industry.

She wasn’t going anywhere with the Summit County Unemployment Office and had no money to come.

“A friend of mine, who had also been fired, put me in touch with Sundee at Holmes JFS,” Porter said. “She was like a godsend to me. I don’t think I would have seen anything unemployment without her.”

Job and Family Services helped her get unemployment benefits while continuing to work part-time and seek employment opportunities.

Her takeaway from the job search: “Keep moving forward and don’t take (rejection) personal and feel less than me.” “

Yes, there are many jobs, but some resist for a rewarding job

Wooster’s Teretta Swartzentruber found herself alone and unemployed as the pandemic began.

The 49-year-old let the system work for her, and now she’s her own boss.

Swartzentruber had moved to Ohio about 10 years ago. She was married and was not in the workforce. She later got a part-time job in retail.

The store where she worked closed at the start of the pandemic. Swartzentruber divorced during this time and turned to unemployment.

Through Ohio Job and Family Services in Wooster, she learned there was a need for healthcare workers, “but I wasn’t going to go to school to be a nurse.”

“I looked at home health care, where it seemed like there was a great need,” she said.

A state scholarship helped her pay for her courses to become a Certified Practical Nurse (STNA). Swartzentruber said she worked for a company for 180 days and then applied for a Medicare license to provide home health care.

Around April 1, Swartzentruber started working for herself and made her own working hours with her clients to meet their needs. It is paid directly by the government.

“I have come a long way,” she said. “I did my research and diligently did my homework to find this career, but the help was there from the start.”

One of the biggest hurdles she had to overcome was finding the money for classes and training. Swartzentruber said she wanted to find a meaningful career in a stable field.

“I’m so proud of where I am and what the county has done for me. I want people to know that help is there,” Swartzentruber said. “I had no income when I didn’t have a job, so I got food stamps. It really helped me. I was able to prepare my lunch, go to school and take lessons. I’m grateful he was there when I needed him. “

Contact Kevin at [email protected]

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