Job forum Tuesday for Huron County residents

NORWALK Only one in five adults in Huron County have an associate's, bachelor's or graduate's degree
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Only one in five adults in Huron County have an associate's, bachelor's or graduate's degree, according to 2006 data gathered for Norwalk's comprehensive plan.

The only comparable data in Erie County is from a 2006 study that shows 17 percent of county residents have a bachelor's degree or higher.

But in these shaky economy times, more laid-off residents are viewing a diploma as their best bet to finding a job.

"What a lot of our unemployed are finding is now it's a good time to go back and get some education that will help them get their next job," said Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch. "There's funding to do that in conjunction with their unemployment."

Across the state, not many companies are hiring, making this an opportune time for residents to head back to school, Lesch said.

Residents can attend school now, while the economic downturn wears on. By the time they graduate, hopefully the job market will have rebounded considerably.

Pursuing a degree is only one method of coping with the unpromising job landscape.

Lesch said a whole host of resources exist for people who are eager to get off the unemployment rolls.

From 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Learning Center at Norwalk High School, Huron County residents who are out of work are encouraged to attend the third forum hosted by the Huron County Workforce Response Team.

The forum will provide visitors with information about where to go to seek help for finding jobs, receiving unemployment, managing finances, avoiding foreclosure, obtaining assistance for prescriptions and handling stress.

Speakers at Tuesday's event will also be available for short one-on-one consultations with unemployed workers to help answer their questions.

"We're committed to helping them get on the path that's going to find them a job or improve their skills so they are more likely to find a job as the economy improves," Lesch said.

Many laid off residents were cut from jobs they worked for decades.

These workers tend to be rusty in resume writing, job interview strategies and selling themselves.

Some workers do not have basic computer skills.

Others do not know where to look for job postings.

All of these things can be helped by resources that already exist in the county, said Sue terVeen, Job Store assistant in Norwalk.

Losing a job tends to result in a grieving process, replete with disbelief, anger and depression, terVeen said.

But while sulking on the couch in pajamas might be an understandable response to being sacked -- it's unhelpful, local officials said. Opportunity only comes knocking on the doors of people who made an effort to bring it there.

"We talk about taking care of yourself -- you have to network -- networking is key in a job search, no matter the industry," terVeen said. "We see it every day -- people helping people."

At 18 percent in February, Huron County's unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation -- it ranked 58 in the country.

In January the county ranked 42 for unemployment in the U.S with a 18.3 percent rate.

Huron County was only one of three Ohio counties to make the top 100 list so far this year; Ottawa County was another, ranking No. 73 in January and No. 99 in February.