News 12 at 6 O'Clock, May 13, 2010
AIKEN, S.C. --- They call themselves the "Graniteville Girls." It's a name representative of their former jobs at Avondale Mills. But after 20 years on the job, Jenny Dunn was laid off.
"Who would have thought that it would just one day stop," asked Dunn.
The closing opened another opportunity for Dunn. She got a chance to go to Aiken Technical College. The federally funded Workforce Investment Act program made a college degree possible. That diploma now hangs behind her desk at an Aiken County office.
"I had it in my hand and my whole family was there and I said, I made it. I made it," said Dunn.
Step inside the Aiken One Stop Workforce Center and you'll find dozens of others without a job, also trying to make it.
In the last few months, more job seekers have asked about the WIA program and other free job workshops. Wally Pigeon is one of them .
"We've been putting applications in everywhere, but it seems like there ain't nothing going on right now," he said.
The electrician hasn't worked since January and his wife needs a job too. This time of year he has some extra competition.
"[Up until] now, people are graduating and they're going to be getting kids from school to work too. It's going to be harder and harder," explained Pigeon.
But seeing the effort is a positive sign for those who are trying to help.
Jenny got the message. And she's got one for other job seekers like Wally, who can land where she has.
"You got to be rolling with the punches, learn whatever the current job status is. You gotta go out there and pick you one and learn how to do it," said Dunn.