"Back to Work" ends, but the job opportunities continue...
Alachua and Bradford counties lost millions in federal stimulus dollars today, as the Florida Back to Work program officially ended.
The money came from an emergency fund called "Temporary Assistance to Needy Families."
Whether or not the program is renewed, it has put 300 people to work in the area and paid over 2 million dollars in wages since hiring began in April.
And even though the money might be gone for good, there are still options for job seekers.
Saskia Niekoop was hired through the Florida back to work program.
She said, "I had to change my attitude...instead of focusing on the glass half empty, look at the glass as half full."
Her job was to help other people find work through the program.
But now that the money has run out, only about a third of the people hired will keep their jobs.
Niekoop has a plan to find another job thanks to the local career center- Florida Works.
She said, "Come in to Florida Works, see what services are being offered. Ask about future and potential grants that are coming up...that's what I do."
Florida Works offers a variety of services including consultations, a computer lab, resume help, and workshops to help people market themselves to potential employers.
Executive Director Angela Pate, said that there aren't just entry level jobs available. She said, "These people that were hired under this program were high tech employees, they weren't all low skill workers, there were engineers, Ph.D.'s hired at six figure salaries..."
Pate is hopeful that the federal funding will be eventually renewed in the Senate. But whether it is or not, she's optimistic. She said, "There are more jobs available in our region this year than there was two years ago "
But in today's economy people have to come looking for them.
To contact Florida Works go to http://floridaworksonline.com/
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