Ben Hill career expo draws hundreds - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ben Hill career expo draws hundreds

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - 54-year-old John Poole was one of hundreds hoping to finally get a break from the tough economy and find a job. "I've been working all my life since I was 16 and  now it's beginning to get to me."

He was laid off from the Gilman Paper Company in January and hasn't been able to find work since. "I just don't know what to do. I am drawing unemployment right now and with the way the economy is nothing is working out like I want them too," said Poole.

At 14.1 percent, he is one of more than a thousand who are unemployed in Ben Hill County. "We were ranked among the highest in the state, and unfortunately we have seen a lot of businesses go," said Felicia Young with the Colony Business Association.

Local organizations teamed up with Georgia's Department of Labor to help change this. "We have so many without jobs looking for jobs that we are trying to connect them with the companies," said Irwin Family Connection Executive Director Laverne McConico.

But with only a handful of companies looking to hire there, they are advising most to advance their skills. "If they need skills, I recommend that they go back to school now while they have the time if they are unemployed," said McConico.

But even doing that won't guaranteed success. "You go back to school, graduate and hope to find a job. And you are back out here still looking," said Angela Edmunson.

"It's not easy to go to work all your life, and now you get up in the morning and go to nothing," said Poole. Both only hope that one of the applications they have filled and submitted here will at least get them a call back.

Organizers estimate about 500 people attended Wednesday's career expo.

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