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Getting Back to Work

The YWCA's YWorks program offers aid to unemployed women

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The stories of these now-unemployed Target employees sound all too familiar to Janet Marcotte, the executive director of the YWCA in Tucson.

Two years ago, the organization took over a job-search and skills-building program based at the UA that was originally developed for displaced homemakers.

The program, called YWorks, broadened its scope under the YWCA to serve a wider variety of women, ranging from ex-offenders to ex-executives. Almost 20 percent of the women the YWCA helps are older than 50 and were successfully employed for many years.

"If you had the same job for 20 years, you haven't looked for a job in a long time. And right now, it is especially tough. The environment is so completely different, (and) much of a job search is now online," Marcotte says.

She says that losing a long-term job can be emotionally devastating.

"It's not that they can just pick themselves up and go out there again. Can you imagine how they feel after 20 years?" she asks.

In 2009, as the economy got worse, the YWorks program saw a 19 percent increase in users. Marcotte says the increase forced the YWCA to extend job counseling from three months to six months.

"In this climate, people need extra help. It's harder right now. What we believe is that women already have what they need to succeed, but our job is to help them realize and connect with the strengths they already have," Marcotte says.

For more information on YWorks, visit www.ywcatucson.org/social_services.html#yworks.

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