Hope Abounds At The Work Station

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As the new year begins, the unemployment problem seems to be easing.

Around the country, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has been dropping. Companies are laying off fewer workers and hiring may be picking up. The most recent report from the U.S. Labor Department shows an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, the lowest level in almost three years.
But that's a national average.
Ohio's unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in December, down from 8.5 percent in November. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio was 469,000. 
Here are the stories of four of them:
"It's hard to try and find a job because i've applied for so many and I'm not having any luck," said Chelsey Carr, of Athens. She shared her story at the Work Station in The Plains. Carr is 22 years old and a single mother.
"Right now, I am unemployed because I quit my job, in Decemeber.  I used to work at Bob Evans, but I had problems there and I've been unemployed since. I'm just pretty much getting assistance now," said Carr. "I just pretty much dropped out of high school and came here, trying to get my GED, so I don't really have anything else but what I get every month and I'm just trying to find a job."
The Work Station is operated by the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services and it offers free employment, training and support services for job seekers. Others, like Carr, have come there to work on finding work. Steven Giffin lost his job in 2006.  
"I'm living with my sister at this point, well, between my brother and sister. Other than that, I have absolutely nothing. I lost everything, I lost my home, my property, my car, child support's got my driver's license so that makes it even more difficult. Most of the jobs that you go to get requires a driver's license. I've got a big fine that I've got to pay for that, but I can't pay because I have no work. I'm a logger and I work construction, have for years.  Most of my life has been logging and construction," said Giffin. "There has been some more jobs opening up, but with my background, as soon as they see that there's a felony attached, then that's just, most of the people aren't asking you know what the felony was, the charges or anything like that. It's just a felony. From there, that's just it."
A brush with the law also has been a problem for Waylon Lyons of Chauncey. "Most of the time, with my background, I have a felony background, so it's harder to get into places," said Lyons.
Lyons is 26 years old and was working as a carpenter until he lost his job six months ago. "I'm helping my mother remodel her trailer, so that's helping me with my bills and stuff, she's able to help me out with that. But you know, I can't do the things I used to do, you know for instance, going out and eating out all the time, going to the movies, I limit myself with what I can do now." 
But this is a new year and there's new hope among this group, including 40-year-old Thomas Atkinson of New Marshfield. "I'm hoping it is, you know, there's jobs out there. You've just got to hunt them down and find them. Hopefully we find something out there," said Atkinson. "I'm helping manage my brother's band, and going clean slate. We're all cleaned up, we quit smoking, got a resolution starting 2012 and we stuck with it. I'm looking more towards working in farming work. If I can't do something that way, then I'm going to go back to school," said Atkinson.
Lyons says even just the education he's received at The Work Station makes him optimistic. "Hopefully with this job search class, you know, I'll be able to get something out of it. I didn't know anything about resumes or anything like that. The Work Station has been able to help me with that. Hopefully I can get my resume out there and get some work this year," said Lyons.
"I've got a few things I've got to finish up so I can get my GED.  I have to finish up a few credits, once I finish that, maybe I can further it with some schooling, in the hopes that will bring a good job," said Giffin. The idea of additional schooling appeals to Carr also.
"I don't know. Hopefully, it gets better.  I hope that it does.  I just hope I get my GED and I can go to college and get a good job somewhere, hopefully.  But right now, I don't really care where I get a job, as long as it's a job, and hopefully full time," said Carr.