A story today in the NY Times helped to gel some of my mounting concerns at Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Champion Workforce program. As a case worker for a Transitional Employee program that aides individuals in West Oakland who may have barriers to employment–I have observed a spectrum of persons out of work and desperate to become self-sufficient. The cases I see are as diverse from a Berkeley PH.d student unable to support his full family to a senior adult who’s last 10 years as a TV repairman has become an obsolete job. Of course I work with persons who have tough legal and substance abuse issues which bar them from jobs, but it’s hardly limited. No one, from the educated to experienced, is immune to experiencing the pangs of a recession. When many come into to see me, it’s their last straw–many are even shocked that their feet walked them into a social service agency. When when you’ve used up your resources, looked everywhere for a job and are at risk of losing your housing, you don’t have the option not to try and see what a seriously understaffed employment program (‘m currently the only one running it–a whole other story) can offer you.