Grant Money To Aid Jobless Is Tripled

March 29, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

Diane Massey hates the reason her office was given more federal money to operate next year: More county residents are unemployed.

"I hope people begin to realize it's not just their neighbor's problem," said the head of the county's job training office. "I could be next. You could be next. No one's job is secure."

The county's portion of the federal grant to help the unemployed will more than triple for fiscal 1993, which begins July 1.

The county will receive $329,599; this year, it received $100,000, said Massey.

Massey didn't ask for the increase, but she has a plan for it.

She wants to hire two full-time employees to alleviate a backlogof 151 residents waiting to enroll in job training programs, she said.

The federal government increased the money available for assisting unemployed workers, giving more to Maryland because jobless ratesincreased more here in the past year than in other states, said Jim Callahan, executive director of the Governor's Employment and Training Council.

The increase then was passed on to the counties, he said.

In January, the latest month for which numbers are available, the state's unemployment rate was 7.3 percent. In January 1991, the jobless rate was 6.1 percent, according to numbers released by the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.

The U.S. ratewas 7 percent in January 1991 and 8 percent in the same month this year.

The Carroll jobless rate increased from 7 percent in January 1991 to 8.6 percent this January.

The federal money is from a Title III program called Economic Dislocation and Workers Adjustment Assistance Program, meant to help people who have lost their jobs becauseof plant closings or permanent layoffs or because their skills are obsolete, Massey said.

The money also may be used to train "displaced homemakers," or people who now are the family's primary wage earners because of the death, divorce or disability of their spouses, she said.

The money comes at a good time, Massey said. This is the first time the county has had a backlog of residents waiting to get intotraining programs, she said. She started the list on Jan. 22.

"Wehope it will help open up opportunities," she said of the extra money.

One new staffer will be a readjustment/retraining counselor; the other will work full time in the Career Center at 224 N. Center St.The center opened last year and never has been staffed full time, she said. Unemployed residents may go there to read job advertisements and obtain advice on interview techniques and writing resumes.

Massey said she hopes to hire the Career Center coordinator by May and the counselor by July.

"We can hold things together till then," shesaid.

She said she also hopes to acquire more classroom and office space.

Almost 1,000 people currently are enrolled in county job training programs, Massey said. Countless others stop by the Career Center to use copying machines, make phone calls and ask for advice onresumes, she added.

Even though the recession rages on, eight to 12 people a month are finding jobs after they complete retraining programs, Massey said.

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