Long-term unemployed Pinoys welcome Obama's jobless assistance program

By Yvee Tadeo-Guevara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 4, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Romy Martinez, 53, worked as a security guard for almost 20 years. But last year, he was laid-off. Now, he is among over 3.5 million people in the United States who are classified as long-term unemployed – out of work for 27 weeks and longer.

Marquez says it’s been tough looking for a job.

“I’ve tried internet, walk-in applications, even on the spot interview,” Martinez said. “They won’t do it. I did that. There’s no reply, no reply at all. I’ll take whatever job that is offered to me right now, even if it’s part time or temporary. I’ll take anything right now.”

Martinez admits that in the last 12 months, he has not received a callback from any company he applied to.

“It has affected me in all aspects of my life—financially, spiritually, emotionally,” he said. “We are always fighting, my wife, due to the expenses; not enough money coming in. It has affected me really me bad.”

The odds of getting a job decline as time goes on. It takes about four months to either find a job, or to give up entirely.

Data from the US Labor Department show that chances of getting rehired goes down as time goes on.

Employers favor the newly unemployed over those who have been out of work for a longer time.

“It is a turn off to most of our employers—being away from the actual work force,” employment agency owner Marge Ordiales said. “They immediately think you’re not the right person for the job, or that you’re deficient in a lot of skills because you’ve been out of work for so long. Or they’re not a superstar at interviews or at their last job.”

Jay Bernardo, a Hollywood chef has been trying to land that perfect job. But after 5 months of searching in vain, the fear of falling into long-term unemployment is dawning on him.

“I am choosy and I know my time is coming up,” Bernardo said. “The first job that comes in, even it’s a 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. schedule—yes I will get that job because I know I don’t want to be in the long- term unemployment at all.”

The Obama government plans to give the long-term unemployed much-needed relief this year. The Ready to Work Partnership grant program will fund partnerships that will provide employer engagement, counseling, on-the-job trainings, paid internships, and other job placement assistance and services.

“It will give me a chance to upgrade my skills, take some courses” Martinez said. “I don’t have to lose hope, just keep trying.”

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  • Delia
    4 March 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Obama promise that his fundamental transformation of America would be a utopia for all citizens in America and everyone would have a job and healthcare would be affordable to all. Yes the people fell in love with Obama and cry with joy the night Obama got elected.

    Now five years later , many who voted for Obama only wish they could change there vote, but this man has other idea’s for America for he is a Marxist who lied to you America, and now we face this dark cloud over us who want freedom, but we handed Obama the keys to our freedom and he will open up the gate to his hell call Marxist Communist rule over you, and your children will never have the freedom you once had in a nation call America.

    It might turn out to be a fight to the death between winners and losers. Winners are those who have jobs or are seeking good jobs. Losers are those content to sleep on the welfare rolls. The state today seems to be on the side of the losers in trying to create more of them, And making it more difficult for the winners.

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