Butler Co. holds unemployment summit

Percy Simpson visits the Butler Co. unemployment summit
Percy Simpson visits the Butler Co. unemployment summit

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - By his own admission Percy Simpson isn't feeling very confident these days, the result of losing his job two months ago and living off savings.

"It's different out there," said Simpson.

But there is hope, hope in the form of an unemployment summit in Greenville, the first of its kind in Butler County.

This is where agencies such as the YMCA and AIDT offered tips to people like Simpson with the goal of putting themselves in a better position to find employment once the economy turns around.

Economic development leaders say 300 or so turned out for the job summit.

"They'll leave here with a better product than what they had coming in," said Ricky McLaney, Executive Director of the Butler County Commission of Economic Development.

For example, Simpson sat in on a resume writing session, a fairly basic process but remember:

"You have to realize a lot of these people haven't done a resume in 30 years or so. This is the first time they've been unemployed," said McLaney.

Jacqueline Allen offered free classes on improving interviewing skills.

"We focus on the interview and how to dress and present themselves," said Allen.

The jobless rate in Butler County is 16.6%, the highest since 1998. It was 4.3% a little more than two years ago.

To help deal with the stress of not working, working out is one outlet. That's why the Greenville YMCA is offering free, 90-day memberships to the unemployed in Butler County.

By the end of his tour of all the stations at the summit, Percy Simpson says he is leaving a bit more optimistic than when he first stepped in.

"I like this because this did me some good," said Simpson.

Optimistic that tomorrow just might be the day Percy Simpson will join the workforce again.

That jobless rate in Butler County really shot up when Chapmen Forest Products closed a few weeks ago, leaving more than 260 people out of work.

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