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New life after layoff

Rocklin resident urges those unemployed to use services after finding new job
By: Jon Brines, Special to The Placer Herald
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California is on the front line of the country’s economic recession with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. And one Rocklin resident has some advice for those looking to get back into the job market after a layoff. Just over a year ago, Vickilyn Marchenkova moved to Rocklin for a job as a department manager for the new Office Depot at the Blue Oaks Town Center. When the economy tanked, she was surprised to have her last check handed to her on Christmas Eve 2008. “It was depressing,” Marchenkova said. “It felt like someone put their foot on your face and pushed you down.” With an uncertain future, Marchenkova did the first thing she could to help herself out. She held on to her cash. “When you are laid off, you have to get the most for your money,” she said. “You can’t go to your favorite stores anymore.” For those out of a job, she suggests finding discount groceries and cutting all the non-necessities out of the budget. Above all else, she said, keep your spirits high. Marchenkova said she scoured job-posting Web sites and took advantage of the resources offered by the California’s Employment Development Department. “Take advantage of our resources, they’re free,” said EDD Employment Program Manager Hermes Ezrre. Ezrre said anyone looking for job listings and fairs, skill assessments and job training can simply come in and register at their office on Sierra Gardens Drive in Roseville, or at other locations. “Our center is an opportunity to get to know your skills, upgrade them if possible and retain a job with those skills that you have learned,” Ezrre said. Marachenkova said one of the things offered at EDD was a job seminar where she learned how to create a 30-second resume. “When employers get a minimum of 150 applicants per position, you need a resume that tells everything about you in 30 seconds,” she said. “That’s what gets you a job now.” She said her unemployment check was enough to pay the rent but not enough to buy food. And she found she made too much money to qualify for free county medical care to treat her diabetes. Marachenkova said she felt like she was on her own, but she also said, it is imperative to network and to tell your friends your situation as you never know how they can help you. “We just knew she was working so hard,” said friend Bill Mikesell. “She’s trying to do everything right. I just knew it was the right thing to do to help her.” California’s First Lady Maria Shriver launched a new Web site, www.weconnect.net, as a one-stop-shop for connecting Californians to programs and services for which they may be eligible in an unemployment situation. “If there was ever a moment to come together as a community, now is the time,” said Shriver in a news release. “So it makes it even more critical that we continue to educate Californians about the many support programs and resources available to them today.” Marchenkova said she found many of the jobs she was qualified for were areas hard hit by the recession. She found a book detailing recession-proof jobs and discovered the medical field was her next career goal. She recommends those caught in a rut to go back to school. “One of the barriers is not knowing where to go,” said California Adult Education Program Consultant Cliff Moss. “Our doors are being flooded with students.” At a time when its budget has been cut by 15 percent, California’s Adult Education programs are seeing a big interest in workers looking to get their GED or other skills to compete with a slow job market and competition with graduates, Moss said. “If you haven’t written a resume or don’t know how to interview because you’ve been working for a place for 10 or 12 years, you don’t know how to do any of that,” Moss said. Moss helped to create a one-stop-shop to help workers get education and help with the job, called California Direct Connect at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/dc/. At 60, Marchenkova chose to enroll at Heald College in Roseville to learn how to enter the medical field for medical insurance billing and coding. Heald College officials said they’ve seen increased growth in enrollment as the economy worsens. “This is a difficult time for folks,” said Heald College Vice President of Marketing Eric Rajasalu. “There has been an increase in all of the non-clinical medical programs.” Marchenkova said her best advice for job seekers is to be flexible. She even pushed back her completion date to go to school at night to allow more schedule flexibility for a new job. Her last bit of advice is to be persistent to a fault — she just began a job at Goodwill Industries. “I’m so thrilled,” she said. Goodwill Industries operates 19 stores including their newest in Roseville on Fairway Drive, which Marchenkova helped to open March 19. Goodwill Industries of the Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada CEO Joseph Mendez said they pride themselves on providing employment opportunities to those with barriers to employment like the chronically unemployed or those with disabilities. “The economy is in chaos,” Mendez said. “It is a very competitive job market. Vicki did everything right. She claimed responsibility for herself, she was willing to work and dressed up and showed up with a plan to be employed. We’re fortunate to have her.” Marchenkova credits her persistence; the 30-second resume and her friends for helping her get by so she could land the job.