Career counselors find themselves out of a job Nonprofit organization closes after 23 years

October 30, 1998|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

Thirteen employees who helped bring Howard County's unemployment rate down to 2.8 percent have lost their jobs, after Careerscope's decision to close its Columbia offices after 23 years.

Careerscope, a private, nonprofit organization that was funded by grants, could not get enough funding to keep the program alive.

"We had applied for grants. Some were reduced, and some we didn't get," said Barbara Hubert, the organization's acting executive director.

Careerscope has promoted jobs and offered seminars to a variety of Howard County residents, from the homeless of Columbia's Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, to workers making a job switch and to graduating students.

It discontinued its programs Oct. 15 and will officially cease operations tomorrow.

Board member Kyri Jacobs said the organization had difficulty obtaining the funds because of the county's low jobless rate, saying "the grantors didn't think there was enough of a need. The needs of Howard County have changed."

According to the U.S. Labor Department's most recent figures, the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7 percent statewide and 4.6 percent nationally.

Hubert said the organization also has 13 volunteers who she hopes will be able to continue offering some of the services, such as seminars on career management.

"We're hoping the program won't completely go away," she said.

The organization was established in 1975 as Womanscope through funding from the Columbia Association. It changed its name in 1982 to reflect the organization's expanded service to all community members.

Although many of the organization's 13 full-time employees moved on to the Department of Social Services, which provided some of the organization's funds, five employees, including Hubert, will be looking for work.

"It's real sad right now," she said. "I'll be out there along[side] the people I've been advising."

Careerscope identified other county organizations that can help clients pursue jobs: Howard County Employment and Training, 410-313-4600, and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, 410-312-5778.

Pub Date: 10/30/98

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