How dedicated am I to my craft? This dedicated: with the conflict between the governor and the Employment Security Commission being a burning issue in our state, I went and got myself laid off so I could go undercover and find out how the unemployment system in this state really works. I'm a regular Alec Leamas or something. That's my story anyway.
I learned an awful lot about it today — so much that I'm too tired now to sort through it all; I'd be writing all night. But it will produce a lot of fodder for the blog in the coming days, I expect. For tonight, I'll just pass on this tidbit…
The State invited representatives from various agencies who provide unemployment services — Employment Security, Commerce, and another program that I need to go back and clarify under which umbrella it falls — out to the paper to get the 38 folks laid off started on filing for help in finding a job, retraining, and getting those checks the ESC processes if you don't find a job right away. (And believe me, those checks are so small that you don't want to be unemployed and dependent upon them for five seconds more than absolutely necessary; they're a tremendous motivation to find a job.)
I spent about three hours with these various folks, and took copious notes. And I want to say that they were all very helpful and knowledgeable and professional and encouraging, which really helped me learn a lot for only three hours spent.
But you should get a chuckle out of this part: Someone was explaining to us about WorkKeys. Do you know about those? Basically, you take a battery of aptitude tests, and you get scores on a range of skills, and employers tell the gummint they want X number of workers who have scored at least a 4 in each category, or whatever, and you get matched up.
The gummint administers the test for free, and will even help you get training to get a higher score where you're lacking. You get certified, I think he said, with a rating of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. (There aren't many platinums, he said.)
But here's the best part. He said, "You also get a certificate, signed by the governor, saying that you are work-ready."
Now see, if I'd known this yesterday when the governor called me, I could have saved myself the time it will take to take those tests. I could have pointed out that if anybody knows what I am capable of, it's the governor. He probably would have whipped me out a certificate of work-readiness on the spot. So I guess I missed my chance.