Edited by Payten Carroll
Recent studies find that America is beginning to come out of the recession as unemployment numbers steadily decline. In Georgia the unemployment rate has been declining since the height of the recession in September 2009. The Coastal Plain Area Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc. (Coastal Plain) contributed to improving the employment outlook in their community by creating programs that addressed the needs identified through a community needs assessment the agency conducted in 2010. The assessment found that not only did the population of unemployed individuals in their community increase significantly, but many individuals lacked communication and job skills. As a result of their needs assessment research, Coastal Plain created a job-seeker training program. The program taught basic job skills, such as interview techniques and how to create a resume. Additionally, the program provides linkages to local businesses who could provide interview clothing and other supplies. Coastal Plain also provided resources to job leads, career fairs, continuing education opportunities, and online job search tools.
Knowing that job seekers with children face more obstacles in finding employment than those without, Coastal Plain partnered with the State Department of Family and Children Services to help working parents find affordable childcare. This program proved so successful that out of the 470 people completing the program, 125 found employment. Others continue to receive support with their job searches. This program was successful because Coastal Plain looked at the needs of the community, customized a program to those needs, and provided comprehensive services to support job-seekers. The whole community benefited from having a better trained workforce and more people contributing to the economy.