Making money in Michiana part 2

By: Barbara Harrington Email
By: Barbara Harrington Email

The past two years have not been easy for McEldon Gorman. Like thousands of other Michiana residents, he got laid off when the economy started to tank.

“I've been doing credit card programming for about 20 years,” says Gorman.

Unfortunately, his full-time job has now turned into looking for a job. Gorman says, “For now I’m on unemployment because everything is just downsizing.”

Gorman has sent out more than 50 copies of his resume, but this only resulted in a few bites.

“To keep looking and looking for a job and nothing happens, it kind of make’s you feel like there’s nothing there.

Gorman’s frustration is understandable. However, there is something available to help.

Free websites like Indiana Career Connect and the Michigan Works Talent Bank lists hundreds of open positions.

The problem is many people who have been laid off after working for decades do not have the skills companies are looking for.

Chuck Knebl, Work One Communications Director explains, “We do have some folks who, for 10 or 20 years, had been working in a recreational vehicle manufacturing facility where they really were not using computers very much on their job."

Phil Damico from St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce says individuals looking for work, "Absolutely need transferable skills. Those are skills that they can take from job to job or career to career.”

Luckily, developing those transferable skills can be easy with the help of agencies like Michigan Works and Work One.

These agencies and others provide free training to help people improve the technical skills that are essential for today's work world, such as using a computer.

Once you have got those transferable skills down, you can attend a free workshop where instructors help groups perfect their communication skills so they can sell themselves to potential employers.

Knebl recommends, “You want to be prepared to describe your abilities and how they would fit with that employer. That's essentially one of the key elements of networking.”

All this makes getting back to work seem like a lot of work. But as the unemployed in Michiana become more employable, the region's economy will continue to grow.

Damico says, “If I come to your area, do I have a workforce that I can immediately employ? To really have numbers of people on the ground ready to take opportunities if they come to our community is critical today.”

If you want to find out which jobs are booming right now that might require special skills you can check out the Hoosier Hot 50; a list of the top 50 fastest-growing jobs in Indiana.

A link to that and other helpful job websites are available by clicking on the Big Red Bar.

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