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Tulsa agency offers helping hand

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In the wake of terrorist attacks and the resulting slumping economy, many people are facing unemployment and an uncertain future. So local agencies are joining forces to offer a helping hand.

News on Six consumer reporter Diane White explains how one group is helping people get back to work. Alvin Byam, "September 11th came around - it was more than just those towers that got torpedoed." There were aftershocks that hit Tulsa companies including Alvin Byam's former employer - Dollar Thrifty. "The rental car business is taking a major hit." That hit cost him his job last week. He'd been there before - after WorldCom cut his position last March. Both times he turned to Consumer Credit Counseling. The United Way Agency has a job support center. "They were able to help me put together a resume and help me with interviewing skills. We had a weekly Monday session which I think was a great help."

He credits sessions with his job counselor - who helped him network and fine tune his skills. Niki Kaseeska, Job Counselor: "We teach them how to conduct their job search successfully we don't do the job search for them - we teach them how to do it on their own so they can be self sufficient." The agency's been in demand since the September 11 attacks - helping hundreds who lost their job. Mary Thomas, Consumer Credit Counseling: "The first thing we ask people to do is to make a financial action plan and to prepare a household budget. If you don't have a budget, if you never had one in place - now is especially the time."

The center helps people plan - and prepare for the work force. It worked for Alvin Baum. He already has another job lined up and offers simple words of encouragement. "Be patient - be realistic. It's going to take awhile." That's advice that could come in handy soon. Consumer Credit Counseling expects there to be more layoffs in the Tulsa area. C

onsumer Credit Counseling charges a one-time, $40 fee. That money covers the cost of computer use, resume services and counseling.
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