The struggles facing workers these days are well documented. The current economic climate in Lincoln County is slightly more dire than that of the nation as a whole — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Lincoln County’s unemployment rate at 10.1 percent, compared to an 8.1 percent national average for the month of February. The local rate has been steadily dropping since early 2010, but those two points above the national average mean that work is still hard to come by.
The causes and consequences of the recession, which began in 2008 and appears to have reached its peak in early 2010, have been debated and analyzed to the point that pundits are beginning to repeat themselves.
But for the underemployed and unemployed of Lincoln County and the region, who have been hit so hard by the outsourcing of the furniture and textile industries, a painful lesson has been taught — and now workers have the responsibility to use each and every tool at their disposal to prepare for employment in the reality of this modern economy.
One of those tools is being offered by Employment Staffing and Gaston College at no cost in the form of a Career Readiness Certification course. The two organizations are partnering for an information session about the two-week class on Monday at the Lincoln Cultural Center, and hope to show underemployed and unemployed workers a clear path to an improved personal economic situation.
A Career Readiness Certificate, which is quickly becoming required by many local employers, demonstrates that the worker has the necessary skills to perform a wide variety of tasks or can be trained to perform those tasks.
Programs like this one are vital for the creation of a strong foundation upon which a vibrant local economy can be built.
The tools are in our hands. Now is the time to use them.