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Mobile employment team visits Johnstown

October 16, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Jerry Emden has traveled across the East Coast looking for construction work, but says there has been nothing in the pay scale he wanted.

The frustrated 52-year-old Johnstown resident said he decided to check out a new state Department of Labor initiative known as the New York State Mobile Re-employment Response Team that was launched a few weeks ago.

The team - initiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo - made an all-day stop Monday at the Johnstown Public Library. Taking over the library basement, the team provided job-search information for anyone from the public.

Article Photos

Hal Sigurdsson, left, of Broadalbin gets help from Jean Stoffolano of Gloversville, a work force adviser and representative of the Mobile Re-Employment Response Team, at the Johnstown Public Library on Monday.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

An electronic sign in the hallway continually flashed a ticker of area job opportunities available such as quality control, housekeeper and restaurant jobs.

Emden, who has roofing experience, said he was glad he stopped. He met with a job counselor.

He said his unemployment benefits are running out.

"The jobs just aren't there," Emden said. "I need something. They gave me a bunch of leads."

The State Mobile Re-employment Response Team's "Re-Employ 2012" effort Monday was the sixth one conducted this year by the state, said Michael Clark, director of the Department of Labor's Dislocated Workers Center in Utica.

On Monday, Labor Department staff members busily helped a steady stream of job-seekers, many of whom registered for the workshop.

Clark said the library workshop Monday will be the only one conducted in Fulton County. He said the Labor Department conducted an event Oct. 3 in Montgomery County for people facing long-term unemployment.

Clark said the Department of Labor received hundreds of emails from people wanting to register for the events. He said similar one- and two-day workshops will take place in other parts of the state such as St. Lawrence County, Buffalo and Rochester.

Six stations were staffed at the library Monday to help people with many one-on-one services such as resume critiques, SMART and LinkedIn profile critiques, interviewing assistance and job matching.

Services offered by the team include resume writing and interviewing, skills matching, tailored job leads and training- opportunity counseling. Before arriving, the team used the Labor Department's local business service representatives to canvass local employers for job opportunities that meet the terms of federal grant funding.

In addition to deploying the mobile response team, the state is distributing $6 million in federal grants to companies that hire long-term unemployed individuals. The $6 million in federal grants will provide wage subsidies to businesses that hire a new employee. The state Department of Labor and the Empire State Development Corp. is working with local workforce development agencies to promote the available federal training dollars in every region of the state.

"We're happy with the turnout so far," Clark said by late morning on Monday.

He said job seekers and business representatives were taking advantage of the workshop.

He said the team is designed to target areas that have the highest rates of long-term unemployment in the state. Unemployment insurance recipients who have received 27 or more weeks of benefits to date were invited, although anyone from the public was welcome.

"I found it online," said Johnstown area resident Jean Finch, who emerged upbeat after meeting with job counselors.

She said she is seeking part-time, semiprofessional work in the education field.

"They were very helpful in giving me the business outline and getting my name out there," Finch said.

Another participant - a 64-year-old unemployed man who once worked in the glove industry and again seeks similar employment - emerged from his interview not wanting to give his name, but he said the state labor team was responsive.

"I'm looking for work," he said. "They've given me some email information and they're going to email me some more. They've been very helpful."

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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