Unemployed and worried about Minnesota shutdown

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After a weekend of closed meeting negotiations by GOP legislative leaders and Governor Dayton, only those privy to the discussions at the state capitol know how close Minnesota’s lawmakers and the governor are in deciding the on the 2011-2013 biennium budget. Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin said last week that she would much rather lawmakers and the governor come to a decision about the budget rather than have her impose mandates. So far, that joint legislative/gubernatorial decision is nowhere in view, and people at the Workforce Development Center in Minneapolis were among the concerned Minnesotans trying to figure out what this would mean for them.

Dee* is unemployed and she’s worried about what the government shutdown could mean for her and for the employment readiness programs she has used. Dee worked for Target Corporation for 14 years before being laid off two years ago, when Target made cut-backs in its credit card department. Recently she graduated from two programs offered by the Minneapolis Workforce Center on Lake Street. One is called Employment Ready-U which is a two-week, half-day training program to help unemployed individuals successfully re-enter the job market, and the other is called Career Readiness Certification (CRC) which offers mathematical, reading, listening, technology and other job readiness assessments.

She smiled when she spoke of her trainer, Trudi Amundson, calling her “approachable with a good sense of humor.” Dee said Amundson has helped her learn how to scale down her resume and send it by email to prospective employers.

Workforce Development Operations Manager Kathy Carney of the Lake Street Minneapolis Workforce Center said she is wondering, like everyone else, whether services provided by the workforce center in conjunction with state unemployment services will be deemed “nonessential” when the shutdown comes. She said if that happens, the workforce center will be closed, and “I will not be an employee after June 30.” Speaking with uncertainty about the fate of her job and workforce clients, Carney said the legislative decision “will impact a lot of people in a personal way.”

*Dee asked me to use only her nickname, to protect her privacy.

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