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Workers who have been laid off may take advantage of an array of programs offered through the local S.C. Employment Commission.
Workers may attend workshops on interview skills, resume building and basic skills, such as WorkKeys, on top of federal and state assistance programs to pay for new technical and vocational training.
Counselors offer the usual job search help at the employment office. Office Director Lynda Burke and AARP partner Iris Hinckley say it is important for people to realize their true knowledge and skills to determine where to point their searches.
Those who are unemployed in their 50s sometimes need a boost in those areas, they said.
Hinckley has been holding events for women to come together and discuss job loss and what they can do about it at Lancaster City Hall at 216 S. Catawba St. in recent months. Another meeting will be held Thursday at 2 p.m.
Hinckley said many older women believe they don't have marketable skills. In many cases that is untrue, she said.
"There is a gap in the workforce that these women can fill," she said.
Hinckley said she starts by creating a "super-duper" resume for the women by asking about their activities and skills.
She mentioned one woman she recently helped who got a job as a cake decorator at Harris Teeter, with others getting jobs in catering and custodial work. Entrepreneurs have been born out of her program recently.
"Their skills are everything. Many of them have vision," she said.
But sometimes new skills are needed to adapt to employers' needs. The employment commission still has assistance programs for new training and education.
Grants are available to local employers to train high-quality candidates for a job through the Workforce Investment Act program.
Other possibilities in the WIA program include up to two years of tuition reimbursement for a technical or vocational degree.
"We try to get them gainfully employed by making them more marketable," Burke said.
For more information on Hinckley's program, call 285-6966.
For details on the unemployment office's counseling, programs and workshops, call 285-6966 or stop by at 705 N. White St., Lancaster.
Contact reporter Johnathan Ryan at email@example.com or at (803) 416-8416