Article 43

 

Job Hunt

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Web Portfolios

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Giant Resums Fail to Impress Employers
Colleges Are Pushing Students to Create Online Portfolios, but Hiring Managers Are Skeptical

By Melissa Korn
Wall Street Journal
February

“Show, don’t tell” is a core tenet of good writing. It is also becoming a guideline for student resumes - whether employers are interested or not.

In an effort to give students a leg up in the job market, more universities are pushing their graduates to complete e-portfolios - Web-based dossiers that showcase writing samples, class presentations and other EVIDENCE OF SKILLS that might be attractive to potential employers, like CRITICAL THINKING.

The Web portfolios are useful in making students STAND OUT school administrators say, and can help them better understand their own achievements.

Just over half of U.S. college students used an e-portfolio last year for academic or employment purposes, up from 7% in 2010, according to Educause, a nonprofit focused on information technology in higher education. The group expects that number to rise further this year.

“It’s a learning experience, linked to a career opportunity,” says Tim Shea, an associate professor at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth’s Charlton College of Business who oversees the e-portfolio program. The school has required e-portfolios for M.B.A. students since 2009.

One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites - 83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.

Marie Artim, vice president of talent acquisition at Enterprise Holdings, says her team doesn’t see many e-portfolios when hiring for their management training program, but even when they do, “they are typically not a factor in our screening process.” The car-rental company, which hires nearly 10,000 college students for internships and full-time positions a year, puts more emphasis on its behavioral interview process, she says.

National Grid NG.LN +0.25% National Grid PLC U.K.: London GBp812.50 +2.00 +0.25% Feb. 14, 2014 4:35 pm Volume : 4.75M P/E Ratio 0.12 Market Cap GBp30.31 Billion Dividend Yield 3.57% Rev. per Employee GBp594,711 More quote details and news ׻ NG.LN in Your Value Your Change Short position PLC, a U.K.-based electric and gas utility, hasn’t used e-portfolios in its hiring process, says Maryjane Baer, director of U.S. recruiting.

Hiring managers are skeptical that the Web portfolios will convey anything more than a resume and interview, if they’re aware of them at all, Ms. Baer says. “I don’t think that a lot of our hiring managers know or understand an e-portfolio,” Ms. Baer says.

Some schools use their own technology, but about 500, including Stanford University and Marquette University, have teamed up with Pathbrite Inc., a portfolio hub that also enables students to upload verified transcripts and test scores. A similar company, thePortfolium LLC, has signed up more than 25,000 users from partner schools, including University of California’s San Diego and Santa Barbara campuses, since launching last February.

Companies have been slower to catch on - neither Pathbrite nor thePortfolium have signed any corporate contracts.

To be sure, some firms find the portfolios are useful assessment tools. Employers say they can help to uncover hidden talent, such as nonnative English speakers or those with weaker writing but strong technical skills.

Greg Haller, president of the western U.S. region at Verizon Wireless, is pushing to get his company’s career site to link to thePortfolium so applicants can include more evidence of their skills.

“You can writeon a rsum that you did an internship somewhere, but if I can see the projects that you worked on, it gives me a more rounded view of the candidate,” he says. For example, he might be inclined to interview someone who spent time at an electrical engineering company, only to find out that the work experience had nothing to do with engineering. A glance at an e-portfolio could have saved him the trouble, he says. Mr. Haller says that if he picked the 10 top candidates each from a group of 100 traditional resumnes and 100 e-portfolios, there would be very little overlap.

That is the hope at University of South Florida. Honor students there aren’t required to complete e-portfolios, but the sites became prerequisites for some scholarships about five years ago.

Inga Zakradze, an international business student in the honors program, includes a link to a travel diary she kept during a school trip to Japan as well as academic papers and examples of posters she designed for student clubs on her e-portfolio. The 22-year-old senior says her resume is still “the primary calling card,” though she thinks the e-portfolio provides “a better feel for me as a well-rounded student.”

A “small number” of students include links to their e-portfolios in job applications, says Stuart Silverman, dean of the university’s Honors College. “Whether or not the prospective employer looked at it, or weighed it, who knows.”

Even if employers never lay eyes on the sites, proponents say that just creating them is worthwhile because they force students to reflect on their college achievements, and then can better articulate such successes in interviews.

“We don’t draw a sharp distinction between the portfolio as a learning process and the portfolio as an employment tool, since it’s the self-awareness that comes out of that process that ultimately prepares the student for the workplace,” says Kerri Shaffer Carter, director of e-portfolios at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

Westminster initiated a campuswide e-portfolio requirement beginning with the class that enrolled in 2011, though it has been a slower slog to get employers on board.

“We’re still at the beginning of trying to translate this from academic to professional,” says Annalisa Steggell Holcombe, associate provost for integrative and community-based learning.

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Posted by Elvis on 02/16/14 •
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Job Hunting Apps

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Remember Want Ads for Jobs? Now You Find Them on a Phone

NY Times
January 29, 2014

What do you do when you lose a job or need bigger challenges than your present one offers? Start that job hunt. You could earn more money or even prove the person who fired you wrong by landing a better job elsewhere.

Today you only have to look as far as your pocket to find new work because there are many apps for mobile devices that can help.

One of the simplest job-seeking apps is Glassdoor’s Job Search, Salaries and Company Reviews - free on IOS and ANDRIOD. Think of a quick-hit news reporting service that only reports on new job openings and youre close to understanding how this app works.

You hunt through an ever-updating feed of jobs by looking for those that match your search keywords: “analyst” perhaps, or “math teacher.” Once you tell the app the geographic area or city you’re interested in, it will create a list of openings that match. Tapping on a job in this list takes you to a page of detailed information, and you can also look up data on the company offering the position.

You can filter the job lists by job, company or salary. Filtering by job is likely to be most useful for most people, but for job seekers keen to see if their favorite firm is hiring, the company filter is also useful.

The most interesting filter, though, is salary. This lists the kind of pay levels that are associated with your search keywords in the professional area youre looking for. This data could help you decide if the pay being offered for a specific opening is likely to be reasonable.

This app isn’t a full-featured job finder that can house your rsum and automatically fill in job applications. But it is the kind of app you could spend five minutes browsing through on the off chance you will see some jobs you’re interested in. Many of the jobs advertised through the site have an apply now铔 button in the job details pages. The application process is usually external to the app involving, for example, getting documentation sent to your email address.

The app is highly regarded, and I can see why: Its interface is good-looking and easy to use, and it makes hunting for jobs a swift experience. Thereגs little to criticize.

For something a little more sophisticated, try LinkedIn. This behemoth of a company is more than a social network for catching up with old work colleagues.

The LinkedIn app can recommend jobs, based on data you enter on your profile page. This information is a de facto digital rsum if you fill in all your experience and job history details. The recommendations won驒t necessarily always fit your needs for example, the app is recommending a sales consultant job for me at the moment, although I have never worked in sales - but they may still be interesting or thought-provoking.

The sites search engine works a lot like Glassdoor’s. It offers a list of jobs that match your search terms, and specific data on each job when you tap on a result. You will even find useful buttons like apply for this job on the company’s website. But be careful with your keywords. Searching for “business analyst” without specifying a location, for example, gave me results in places as far removed as Geneva and Johannesburg.

LinkedIn works best if you spend some time entering data into it. Its many levels of complexity and functions mean the app isn’t always the easiest to navigate. I dislike the odd slide-to-reveal menus on the iOS version, for example. But it is at least free to download and use on IOS, ANDROID and WINDOWS Phone.

Sitting somewhere between Glassdoor and LinkedIn in terms of complexity is CareerBuilder’s Jobs app, free on IOS and ANDROID and for KINDLE devices.

Like Glassdoor, CareerBuilder has a neat design that makes browsing the various job listings pleasant. But it also has some sophisticated features, like being able to calculate commuting distances based on your phone’s GPS data. You can upload your resume to Career Builder and even apply for some positions directly through the app. On the iPad you can also see basic data on how many people are competing for a job.

The app is easy to use, but some people complained in the reviews that they had experiences with spam email after using it. As with any online service that you enter personal data into, it’s worth remembering to be careful about what you share. You should also check the authenticity of search results that you see.

Remember that in a competitive job market and our digital age, positions can be offered and filled very quickly. So using the search engine in the Twitter app - free on IOS, ANDROID and WINDOWS PHONE - may also be a great place to hear about new job openings.

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Posted by Elvis on 01/30/14 •
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Job Hunting Tips For Old Farts

Looking for a Job When You’re No Longer Young

By Anne Kreamer
Harvard Business Review
March 22, 2012

We operate in a business landscape driven by an obsession with youth. I should know. I used to work in the red-hot center of one of the most youth-oriented companies on the planet, Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is part of the MTV Networks where even the unwritten code of dress and grooming and behavior has one non-negotiable axiom: no matter what kind of work you do, it is essential to come across as youthful, or at least not too square. I am convinced that one senior-executive colleague never achieved his full potential because he simply looked too much like a conservative banker. Translation: he looked old.

But at least he had a job. During the last decade, the number of unemployed older workers has increased 300 percent. Workers over 45 are also unemployed longer than younger workers. And federal age discrimination actions filed annually increased 66% between 1999 and 2011. But workplace age discrimination is very, very hard to prove. If youre looking for a new job and over 50, the answer is (probably) not to sue. It’s to play the hand you’ve been dealt as best you can.

In this stressful market, with no guarantees of pensions or government safety nets taking care of us in our later years, and so with a need for all of us to keep productively working as long as possible, there are a few basic things I might suggest to help you cope.

Consider the industry.

An obsession with youth is not a phenomenon unique to a company like MTV Networks, focused on programming for people under 30. Digital technology, one of the world’s fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors, is popular with consumers of all ages. Yet the Internet and software and consumer electronics industries are dominated by people under 40. According to Techies.com, the average age of a software developer in Silicon Valley is 24. So perhaps its not surprising, as the National Academy of Sciences found, that older workers in the technology sector are three times more likely to lose their jobs in layoffs or reductions in force than younger workers. And according to a survey by Network World magazine, only about one in eight tech managers 30 years old or younger had hired anyone over 40 during the previous year.

If you’re aiming at a youth-dominated sector, know the odds. And know that job descriptions with language like “energetic” and “fast-paced” could be code words for “young.”

Know your geography - both organizational and literal.

There can be striking, stereotypical regional differences, as I learned when I pretended to want to get back into corporate work ח having let my natural gray hair grow out as research for my book on aging. One of the headhunter-experts I talked to for that project was Ann Carlsen, a recruiter in telecommunications and technology based in Boulder, Colorado. She was bracingly blunt. In California companies, דpeople over 40 are out to pasture. And while they might not feel the same in, say, Connecticut, in any geography, she told me, if I were serious about re-entering the corporate world I should be prepared for a long and frustrating process. And this was before the recession. “At your age,” she said, ravaging my (simulated) hopes for full-time re-entry into business, “You should be a consultant.” In other words, according to Carlson, at 50 the only person I could work for was myself.

The organizational “geography” also matters - chief marketing officer versus chief financial officer. Older job-seekers have to ask themselves: Is competence or creativity the most important attribute to convey? And what signifiers are used to convey those qualities? For instance, would a woman with spiky orange hair land a COO job? Or would someone who looks like Meg Whitman get the gig as head of a record label? (No and no.)

Pat Mastandrea, the former COO of the British satellite channel SKY TV, is now head of The Cheyenne Group, a New York-based executive recruitment firm that specializes in placing top executives in media, entertainment and education companies. The pressure to be (or at least look) young, she said, is more important in certain job functions. I had a candidate who was in sales, and one day she just woke up and looked around and realized that all of her colleagues were in their 30s and her clients were in their 20s and she was in her 50s and she realized that there was a disconnect and she had to change fields. Sales positions are not as accepting of the aging process.

Be aware of how you present yourself.

I asked Carlsen if she saw any basic differences in the kinds of candidates that different industries look for. Across the board more companies are targeting younger demos, so they are focusing on hiring people whom they believe will think like the animal. Clients wont tell her straight out, of course, that one of her potential hires didn’t get a particular job because they were too old. That would be against the law. Instead, they’ll say that the person just wasn’t a good fit for the culture, or that the person is over-qualified. Of course, overqualified can have real meaning - someone who’ll be unhappy with the lack of challenge or authority - but it can also be code for a younger manager being uncomfortable at the prospect of managing someone older.

Mastandrea agrees that overt age discrimination is tough to spot. “Some clients arent even aware of their aversions or know why they discriminate,” she said. “They couldn’t begin to articulate why [they think] someone wouldnt be a good fit.” This lack of awareness is what makes age discrimination so tricky to police.

Nonetheless, Carlsen says she doesnt coach candidates on appearance before a job interview. She thinks that it’s important that the client have a sense of the real candidate. However, if someone has been rejected a few times they tend to figure it out themselves. Across the board they will color their hair if they get turned down. And did Carlsen think WOMENS APPEARANCES were judged more harshly than men’s? Duh. The deck is even more stacked against older women. You’ve got to look like you;ve been working out. You need good shoes and accessories, and the tan. The men [who run companies] tend to dismiss older women as not relevant. If the job is in sales or any area with high visibility, the issue is further compounded. If you put two women up for the same sales job and one is blonde and hip and the other more dowdy there is never a doubt about how that will come out, regardless of the position or the company or the skill set.

There are internal and external issues that play into how old you read to others. Here are a few thoughts to address the easier-to-deal with external style issues:

Stand up straight. Sounds simple. Sounds stupid. But trust me, nothing ages a person faster than poor posture.

Get physically active. Theres a reason politicians bound up the steps - fast movement makes people seem active and therefore younger.

Conduct an image overview. Is your hair cut contemporary? Are your clothes dated? Don’t try to be something you are not. That will read as fake - even pitiful. But if you’ve got 80s shoulder pads in your suits, rethink them.

While my dream is that Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer and Nancy Pelosi will start letting their natural hair grow out, until that time, if you feel you must, dye your hair.

Assess your mental adaptability.

Now for the harder, internal barriers to seeming alertand youthful. The stereotype of an old person is someone resistant to change, slow to learn, less productive, and who will have fewer years in the organization to recoup any training costs. To counteract any of these negatives conduct a hard, cold, objective assessment. Do you think you in any way mirror this stereotype? If so, tease apart the issues one by one:

If you feel intimidated by new technology, ask for help from someone outside the office. Experiment with new media - Twitter, Pinterest, your own WordPress blog. The more you play, the more fluent you will be in the modern ways of the working world. No one needs to master all media expressions or technology platforms, but being conversant in the most popular ones will dispel the “out-of-it” stereotype. Build this into your schedule, just as youd set aside time for other priorities.

If your skills are rusty, enroll in a course to supplement your gaps.

Network and meet young people. Spend time with them. You will learn something. And they will be glad to have your mentorship.

While you don;t need to know every new band or movie (the market is simply too fractured to keep up), its a good idea to keep abreast of current culture. Publications like The Week or websites like HuffingtonPost are a starting place.

Is it possible to go too far? One former advertising executive and desperate-to-be-perceived-as-young contemporary of mine owns and operates a successful social networking consultancy. She says that her employees bought her slang flash cards so that in the Twitterverse she wouldn’t come across as out of touch i.e. old. Her staff introduce her to words and phrases such as “ThatshitCra” (short for that shits crazy) and they applaud her when she calls her car her whip. While this seems extreme to me, in an age and a country where youth culture is the culture, trying to seem with-it at work can be seen as a necessity. Even if it makes me a little sad.

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Posted by Elvis on 01/28/14 •
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

How To Search For Unadvertised Jobs On The Internet

glassdoor-johunt1-sm.png border=0

How To Find Unadvertised Jobs

By Jim Stroud
Glassdoor
December 20, 2013

Find Unadvertised Job Openings with a Clever Google Search

Did you know that most JOBS are not advertised? Believe me, its true. When you see a job posted on (insert leading job board name here) somebody paid to have it advertised there. You know where it’s free for a company to post all of their jobs? Come on, guess If you suspected a company’s own careers website, you would be correct!

In terms of percentages, it has been estimated that online job board postings represent about 15-20% of the total jobs out there. Click HERE to do some research and see for yourself. Why such a small percentage? Hey, the cost of advertising those opportunities adds up! Such being the case, you might be wondering how you can have access to all of those gigs. Well, I have three options to present to you.

Option one for finding these unadvertised jobs is to go to the careers section of every company you have an interest in and do a manual search. This could prove to be quite laborious if you have an interest in several companies or you dont care where you work so long as a check arrives on the 15th and 30th.

Option two for finding hidden opportunities is to spend some quality time on US.jobs. US.jobs is owned and facilitated by DirectEmployers, a nonprofit association of employers. What I like about this site is that when you search for a job it searches the career sections of various companies rather than a list of promoted positions a la (insert leading job board name here). As such, you are able to search a richer database of jobs you most likely are not privy too. Now, is EVERY companyԒs career section available via the US.jobs system? No. However, a great deal of them are and many (if not all) are from Fortune 500 companies. Click HERE for a list.

Option three is a bit more technical and needs a bit of explaining but is so worth it. Do you know what an applicant tracking system is? Wikipedia defines it as a “software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs.” As a jobseeker, you refer to it as the electronic blackhole that eats up resumes. Specifically, its the system you interact with when you apply for a job on a company careers website. One of the more popular applicant tracking systems is produced by a company called TALEO.

With a little help from Google, you will be able to search company websites that are using the Taleo system. In this way, you will be able to find jobs that are not posted on (insert leading job board name here) and have an edge on your competition. Let me show you how.

In THIS GOOGLE SEARCH, I am asking Google to look only on the Taleo.net website (where their system hosts various unadvertised jobs that are typically obtainable when a jobseeker does a search on a company’s careers website).  I do this when I search: site:taleo.net Afterward, I ask Google to find only those webpages that have “careers” in the title. This is what “intitle:careers” means. Finally, I add in the job title “programmer” because that is the job I am looking for.

Of course, just adding a job title is giving me too many broad results. I NARROW IT DOWN BY ADDING MORE KEY WORDS like “sas” amd “macro”.

What I like about this is that I now get fewer results but, more in line with the type of job I am seeking. More importantly, I am accessing jobs that my job-seeking competitors may not be privy to yet.

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Posted by Elvis on 01/08/14 •
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Monday, January 06, 2014

1600 Apply For 36 Ice Cream Plant Jobs

Hagerstown ice cream plant revival attracts hundreds of desperate job seekers

By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post
January 5, 2014

When the Good Humor ice cream plant closed here two summers ago, more than 400 jobs and a stable, punch-the-clock way of life melted away, another in a string of plant closings that have battered this once-proud manufacturing town.

The hulking plant sat vacant until a co-op of Virginia dairy farmers purchased it in summer 2013 to process milk and ice cream, though on a far smaller scale than the 60,000 cases of ice cream that global food giant Unilever churned out every day.

Randy Inman, the board president for Shenandoah Family Farms, said he expected the plants revival to trigger plenty of interest in its three dozen or so initial jobs. What he did not expect: 1,600 applicants and counting - a deluge.

Many applicants are desperate former employees still without work in a county with 7.3 percent unemployment and in an economy where manufacturing job openings now require more specialized abilities than the lower-skilled positions that have gone overseas or, in the case of Unilever, to Tennessee and Missouri, where labor and operating costs are cheaper.

Wall Street is booming, the Federal Reserve is paring back its stimulus, there are bidding wars for houses again, but for blue-collar workers in places like Hagerstown the economic recovery has yet to materialize, and many around town worry that it wont. Laid-off workers are living week-to-week on unemployment. They’re working temp jobs and trying to reeducate themselves. They are trying to save their houses from foreclosure.

“You’d think that after 20-some-years working someplace at least somebody would think you are a good person, that youd show up on time every day, and that would be worth something,” said Luther Brooks, a 50-year-old single father of four who lost his $40,000-a-year pasteurization job at the ice cream plant. “But I can’t get nothing. Ive tried.”

A handful of former workers have gotten lucky, returning to their old jobs as the plant begins production later this month. They wont earn as much as they did before, but they aren’t complaining. One rehired worker - and his boss - spoke on the condition of anonymity. He is being inundated with pleas for help landing jobs from former colleagues.

“I’ve been hounded on Facebook,” said the 60-year-old mechanic who had been working in lawn care before he got hired back. He has told the job seekers, “Put in a resume, put in an application.”

Brooks, whose unemployment benefits are about to run out, put in two.

“I’d even take a hand-packing job just to start,” he said, meaning a job stuffing boxes with ice cream. “I didn’t even get a call.”

The country lost 6 million factory jobs between 2000 and 2009, and in Maryland, the job losses have been catastrophic. There were about 172,000 manufacturing jobs in the state in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; today there are about 104,000, a nearly 40 percent drop. In the Hagerstown area, which once produced airplanes, pipe organs and leather car seats, there were roughly 14,000 factory jobs in 2000. Today: about 8,000.

The staggering job losses have the attention finally, some workers say ח of Maryland Gov. Martin OMalley (D), who has revived the dormant Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness. Later this month, the commission is scheduled to release recommendations on improving prospects for manufacturing jobs.

ғFor us to stay the course would mean continued erosion of middle-class jobs that are very hard to regrow, said Jeff Fuchs, the commissionԒs chairman.

The challenge for elected officials, experts say, is preparing workers accustomed to the manufacturing of the past for what is needed now. New plants feature specialized machines that frequently use complex computer programs דprecision manufacturing. Such factories require higher-skilled workers but fewer of them.

ThatԒs a difficult world for a former ice cream plant worker to enter.

Workers need to be a step above what their fathers and grandfathers were capable of doing,Ӕ Fuchs said. The manufacturing employees of today need to be cross-skilled. They need to know how to do a lot. ItӒs not just monitoring a machine and pushing a button when youre supposed to.Ҕ

Maryland is investing more money to help workers. The states new $4.5 million industry-led job training and competitive workforce program, called EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now), last week announced 29 grants for job training programs for a variety of industries, including biotechnology, cybersecurity, green jobs, health care, logistics and manufacturing.

ғThere is no progress without a job, OԒMalley noted in making the announcement.

But reeducating lower-skilled workers is a long process with multiple challenges. Many workers enter job training programs with little to no formal education. Other workers have family circumstances that prevent them from putting in the necessary time to learn new skills. Still more are stubborn and think they will eventually land a job like the old one.

The job training experiences of many former ice cream workers offer a windowinto the difficulties. The laid-off workers were eligible for up to $4,500 in state and federal assistance for retraining. At the Western Maryland Consortium, a job training group, executive director Peter Thomas said 85 workers enrolled for services including remedial education, computer training and occupational skills development. Forty-nine have landed permanent jobs as dental assistants, forklift operators, business accounting software workers or truck drivers, which was the largest new occupation for the reeducated ice cream plant employees.

One worker who went through the job training program was starting over after 28 years at the plant as a mechanic. He met his wife on the job. He had been working third shift ח the graveyard shift at the plant for years, and it was taking its toll.

When the plant closed, דI wasnt really depressed,Ҕ he said. I was ready for a change.Ӕ

He got a truck drivers license, but he wound up taking a job working on a dairy farm. There werenҒt many other options. He was earning $26 an hour making ice cream. Hes making $13 an hour now. His wife is studying to be a nurse.

ғWe have no benefits at all, he said. ԓWere going to look into the Obamacare thing if we can ever get online to do it.Ҕ

They have cut back on spending. Theyve taken some money out of retirement accounts. But, he said, ғMy health is better because Im not working third shift. Third shift is a miserable life. IҒm happy. As long as I can survive, thats all I really care about.Ҕ

The dairy co-op is gearing up for production on Jan. 22. It will process milk initially, then add ice cream products gallon containers, novelty bars, cones. The Virginia farmers and their families will have their pictures on the products. The idea is to connect consumers with the source of their milk and ice cream. How many additional employees will be hired is unclear, but plans are to ramp up fast.

Inman, the co-op boardגs president, knows that many former workers are desperate to come back. In the lobby the other day, inside the local newspaper box, the main headline on the front page read: Long-term jobless benefits at end?Ӕ

We would like to be able to hire some more of these people back,Ӕ he said.

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Posted by Elvis on 01/06/14 •
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