Yokefellow classes aim to help Caldwell County's jobless

Aug. 25, 2013 @ 07:36 AM

With the number of jobless in Caldwell County outpacing the number of jobs, finding work can be a daunting task.

So Caldwell County Yokefellow, a Lenoir-based charity that provides food, utility and clothing assistance, has started a series of classes conducted twice a month as part of its “well-being philosophy.” On Thursday, about eight folks turned out for a class that gave tips on how to put your best foot forward when it comes to fighting for those hard-to-find jobs.

“We want to provide resources for them, to steer them to those resources, as we want them to become active participants in the overall well-being of their households,” said Sharon Osborne, Yokefellow executive director. “If it’s a lack of work, we’ll try to find them work.”

Thursday’s class was a mix of employed, unemployed, Yokefellow clients and food stamp recipients.

“They want to make sure you are serious about finding a job,” Osborne told the group before the presentation. “This is about establishing a relationship with these folks.”

Armed with a PowerPoint presentation from the N.C. Department of Commerce, Cathy Rhuberg, an employment consultant with the N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions, presented the attendees with tips on how to prepare resumes and applications, on professionalism and conduct, job behavior, employer expectations, job attitude and communication skills.

Travis Thomas, 26, said he needs all the assistance he can get. Thomas just completed a 10-month jail sentence for violating his probation. He is well-spoken and was employed before his incarceration. He’s simply trying to get back into the job market.

“I learned skills so I can gain and maintain employment,” Thomas said after the hour-long session ended. “It was worthwhile, for sure.”

Each person was handed a card to fill out, sort of a mini-application and resume, that may lead to a future appointment with the Workforce Solutions office in Lenoir next week.

“We all have obstacles. Most are aware of those obstacles. Some of us are not,” Rhuberg said. “This class is could be key to overcoming those obstacles and finding employment.”

Future classes at Yokefellow will cover food and health care.