Meet the locals: Danville

Residents of this Virginia town are trying new approaches to finding work.

    Danville's manufacturing industry was hit by the recession but there are signs of recovery

    Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on towns across the globe.

    Two months after first observing the impact of the global recession on Danville, Virginia, Cath Turner and Catherine Stancl returned to see how residents are coping and if they are noticing any signs of recovery.

    Carolyn Guy, 51, unemployed

    Carolyn Guy epitomises Danville's economic woes. She has worked in manufacturing for the past 15 years, but lost four jobs in a row because of the recession. Every company she moved on to either closed or sacked staff.

    So Carolyn decided to enroll at the Danville Community College to broaden her manufacturing skills and, in the process, learned a lot about herself.

    Carolyn says she realised she might put employers off because she is too opinionated, too outspoken and thinks she is right all the time.

    She found her ethics class the most valuable, because it taught her how to present herself and be respectful of others' opinions.

    Taking a glass-half-full approach, Carolyn says she is ready for a new job and will not give up until she finds one.

    Greg Holmes, 48, employed

    It has been an eventful month for Greg. Up until April, his only commitment was showing up every day for class at the Danville Community College (DCC).

    He is married with five children and has been unemployed for several months.

    Then came one magic week in April. On Tuesday, Greg had an interview with EBI, a company which supplies mattresses and sofas to IKEA. On Wednesday, he graduated from the DCC. Then on Thursday, EBI called and offered him a job. He started work on Friday.

    At the moment, Greg works as a gluing operator at EBI and intends to stay loyal to the company because it gave him a fresh start.

    But he is hoping he will be promoted in the near future and says he can see himself as a supervisor.

    Martha Walker, Organiser of Communities in Transition

    Martha is the bridge between employers and potential employees.

    She runs a weekly networking session designed to find people jobs and invites representatives from local businesses to make a presentation on their company and what they look for in an employee.

    There have been several encouraging outcomes from Martha's seminars.

    Firstly, companies are telling her that they are starting to look for employees again. 

    Secondly, the number of unemployed people attending the meetings is slowly falling. 
    And thirdly, of the 130 people who have attended the sessions, at least 10 per cent have found a job.

    Martha says the most satisfying part of her job has been seeing that people are open-minded and determined about focusing their efforts on re-training themselves for a new economic landscape.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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