Having a gap in employment on your resume doesn't always look good to potential employers. People looking for work are aware of that strike against them, but one woman hopes that with continued training and networking she will remain an attractive job candidate.
Rita Schams is attending Job Club at the Wisconsin Job Center in La Crosse. This 57-year-old La Crosse resident lost her job 21 weeks ago because of medical reasons. She will be considered a part of the long-term unemployed population at 26 weeks, and that can be worrisome.
"I think everyones kind of looking over people in my situation that are kind of middle-aged trying to get back in. A lot of the time they've lost jobs because of downsizing and the economy," Schams said
After being let go from a company she worked at for five years, Rita is taking comfort in President Barack Obama's newest request.
"I think thats really a wonderful thing. I think attention needs to be paid to what's going on with the unemployed," Schams said.
The Wisconsin Job Center encourages people looking for work to make their search a full-time job.
"Sometimes as job-seekers we sell ourselves short and we don't apply because we think 'I don't have that skill set' when really if we applied we had a solid work history there's a good chance that that employer will teach us the tasks of that job," Carol Wagenson, workforce development manager at Workforce Connections, said.
Companies like Fowler and Hammer in La Crosse are trying to do their part.
"I think it's important that everyone has that chance it's not the person who has so much experience, it's the willingness to fit into that position, and to that role, and to that culture and to that company too," Safety Director at Fowler and Hammer Ryan Olsen said.
If more companies share this same idea, job-seekers like Schams can stay optimistic.
"I haven't given up hope yet. Still hoping I'll find the right one," Schams said.
The Job Center said that most people are going to find their next job by networking. They said volunteering and even part-time work will boost your network and shorten that gap between jobs.