Saturday, September 10, 2011
Where are the jobs?
It's not like we at Arise haven't been busy this summer, because we have-- but looking ahead to the fall, to everything we want to accomplish, I feel both excited and anxious.
This week we've been interviewing candidates for a resource developer position at Arise-- seven people total. It's been hard. I liked every person we interviewed. Some clearly had more experience with fundraising and with social justice than others but everyone had at least one quality we knew would make a valuable contribution to Arise.
What really got to me, though, is how desperate people are for work. We got resumes from teachers, veterans, web designers, single mothers, organizers and store clerks. They were fully qualified to do the work that they had been doing previously, and for which some had spent big bucks in the educational system. But they'd been laid off, and unemployed long enough to know they were unlikely to get work in their field.
If you can't get a decent job with a good education, you can imagine what it's like for everybody else. Yeah, there are some part-time, service jobs out there, that don't even come close to supporting you, but even they are out of reach for some. On Saturday, I got a call from a guy, a former member of Arise, who was serving a five year prison term at Walpole! he was out! He's spent some of this past week visiting former employers, to see about the possibility of a job. Most were sympathetic, but couldn't or wouldn't offer work. The future looks rough for my friend, and I hope we can help him hang in there until he gets a break. But it could be a long time.
I've been thinking a lot about the Poor People's March on Washington, D.C. next June 30, and how we're going to get there. Maybe it'll help break down the invisibility of the poor that Katha Pollitt has written about in the Nation:: The Poor, Still Here, Still Poor. Check it out.
Photo from b4b2's photostream at Flickr.