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Tribune to feature those with ‘Will to Work’

IRONTON — This past week marked the first anniversary since the current financial crisis began and rocked the country’s financial foundation to the core. It has been an ongoing crisis that has hit both the state of Ohio and Lawrence County hard.

It began last Sept. 15, when a nationwide economic meltdown ensured following bank failures, plummeting stocks, decimated 401k’s and a lockdown on credit. As a result, the state and county’s unemployment rate zoomed up to levels not seen since the early 1980’s.

Locally, the recession has been tough for Lawrence County. Unemployment has nearly doubled the past two-years and stands at 8.8 percent. Nearly 3,000 workers are currently displaced throughout the county and that number does not even take into consideration those whose unemployment benefits have dried up or individuals who gave up and quit looking for a job.

The county, along with its cities and villages, have seen a reduction in income and sales taxes forcing the elimination of programs and services. Crime and drug abuse is at unheard of levels from one end of the county to another. Services for the poor, needy and less fortunate have been cut or dried up all together.

But despite all the haze, gloom and despair, hundreds of unemployed residents in Ohio’s southern most county have never given up. They have cut through the fray every single day looking for any type of work that the Tri-State can offer. They have even looked abroad.

They have filled out dozens of applications and have passed out, mailed and emailed hundreds of resumes for potential positions. It has become a never-ending cycle — search, apply, wait, search, apply, wait.

The quest for a new job while unemployed can affect the psyche of even the most confident worker. Self-doubt creeps in along with sadness and frustration as savings dwindle and money becomes tight.

Everyone who has lost work in the past several years has a story on how the crisis has affected them and The Tribune is looking for individuals currently unemployed to volunteer and share that story with us.

Starting this fall, The Tribune will launch an installment series titled “The Search: The Will to Work.” The multimedia series will chronicle the trials, tribulations and joys of a group of Lawrence County residents currently unemployed and whose jobs were devoured by the sinking economy.

Each participant will be interviewed, photographed and asked to keep an informal journal of their quest to enter the workforce again.

They also will be asked to meet on a regular basis with The Tribune to give updates of their current search.

Most any profession would be eligible to be included in the series; however those currently unemployed whose jobs had been swallowed by the current financial mess would be preferred.

It would also be advantageous if those considering participating were looking for full time work and not be retired or students looking for part-time work.

Recent high school and college graduates looking for full time work are also encouraged to apply.

Those interested can call The Tribune at (740) 532-1445 x14 or email jim.sullivan@irontontribune.com to be considered. There is no monetary compensation for participation in this series, though your story, resume and available talents will be viewed by The Tribune’s entire readership.

There are more than 3,000 individuals throughout the county who want to work. They just need a little help.