Danville - Meet the locals

    As Danville sees businesses closing and unemployment rising its citizen try to make ends meet

    Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on five towns across the globe - find out more about how residents are coping.

    Ernestine Tillman, 59-year-old unemployed

    For the first time in her life Ernestine is jobless

    Ernestine has been unemployed since April 2008. 

    She spent 35 years working at Danville's largest fabric mill. And she was most recently laid off from Essel Propack- a new manufacturer in Danville.

    This is the first time that she finds herself out of a job.

    With her husband on disability and her unemployment benefits running out, she is struggling to make ends meet.

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    Ernestine has been attending a weekly networking session in Danville to assist in her job search.

    She says that Danville has left people like her behind by failing to train and prepare them for the changing job market.

    Martha Walker,organiser of "Communities in Transition"

    Martha helps the unemployed to network and find work

    In response to the growing unemployment in Danville, Martha helped to start up COMMiT- "Communities in Transition"- a program designed to help people find jobs.

    She hosts a weekly networking session for dozens of job seekers to help them find employment, provide resources, and connect them with local businesses.

    Martha believes that it is important for Danville to work together as a community to try and help lower the unemployment rate and get the town back on the road to prosperity.

    Jerry Franklin, director of manufacturing and technical services at Danville Community College

    Jerry sees Danville's future in the provision of new manufacturing and technology jobs

    Jerry is part of the effort behind training people for new manufacturing and technology jobs.

    He sees a mix of students coming through the doors of the college—young people looking to get trained for future employment, and the older generation laid off from dying industries looking to learn new skills.

    The college says it has an 80% placement rate, many of them to local companies. He says that Danville must re-train its workforce so that they can compete and fill the jobs that the city hopes will come with the arrival of international manufacturing companies.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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