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Karen Warriner lost her job last February, and has been looking for work since then.
Karen Warriner lost her job last February, and has been looking for work since then.

NY works with long term unemployed in St. Lawrence County

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The New York Department of Labor is targeting counties with the highest unemployment - and trying to find jobs for the long term unemployed. The state sent email invitations to more than 600 people in St. Lawrence County to meet with the state's Mobile Unemployment Response Team at Clarkson University in Potsdam this week. About 24 showed up.

Teachers, manufacturing, and office workers were among those who've been out of work for more than six months - and looking for a job.

Reporter Julie Grant caught up with Karen Warriner, as she was finishing her session with the Response Team. The 41-year old single mother of three has been unemployed since last February.

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Julie Grant
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Karen Warriner has never been out of work before, and she doesn’t look like someone you’d expect to be unemployed for long.  She’s attractive, smartly dressed, and confident.  Warriner worked for many years as an accounting representative.   But she hasn’t been able to land a job.

“And I am here to get some help with interviewing skills.  Help with my resume.  Anything that can help me find a job.  This is the first time I’ve ever been unemployed.  I've been working since I was 17.  I was dismissed from my job in February and have been attending college and looking for work as well.  I came here today to tweak some of my skills.  I haven’t on many interviews through the course of my career.”

Warriner met with specialists from the Department of Labor’s Mobile team.  They reviewed her resume, and told her it looked good.  Then they helped her with interviewing skills and how to field questions about the loss of her previous job.

“I told them a couple of things I have gotten nervous about in the past. Questions that came my way.  I asked him different ways to carry the conversation, to answer them.  I try to be professional. And I just want to explain my skills and I just want to know how to convey them the right way, and I don’t want to give them the wrong impression. And he helped me a lot with that today, how to answer questions.”

Warriner seems to be doing everything right to find a job.  She attends training opportunities like this, for one.  She’s also taking colleges courses and working toward her bachelor’s degree. 

Warriner says there are some jobs out there in her field.  But not enough.  She says it’s disheartening when her skills and experience look perfect for an opening, and then she doesn’t hear anything from the company.   In seven months of looking, Warriner has only been asked to one interview.

“It’s the only one I’ve been on.  And I looked at the folder with all the other applications, and it was an inch thick.  So there are a lot of applicants out there looking for the same jobs.  It’s tough.”

Warriner has family in the Saratoga area, and says she’d be more likely to find a job there.  But she and her children are settled in Massena, and their father lives nearby, so she plans to stay.

Warriner says the time off work isn’t all bad.  She’s gotten a lot of projects done around the house, and been at home when her kids get off the bus from school. 

She says during this time, her expectations have changed.

“Pretty much any job that I went into an interview, I’ve gotten the job. So I’ve never had an issue with not being able to land a job.  But the economy the way it is, it’s a lot harder these days.  You really have to shine.  Yeah, it was very disheartening at first.  But I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned how much stronger I can be.  And I learned I’m the one who will control my future.  And if I need help, or if I want to come out on top, I need to look for it.”

Warriner says her unemployment benefits run out in December.  She’s got some savings to live off of after that. But she says she’s hitting the pavement and is confident she’ll be land a job soon.

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