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Never ever, ever lose hope

While the national employment rate is rising, the middle class is shrinking. Despite reports that more Americans are missing car loan payments and department stores likes JCPenney and Macy’s are closing nation-wide, more people seem to be working than before the Great Recession.

But the reality is that middle-income jobs disappeared after the 2008-2009 recessions, and even in San Francisco, not everyone in is earning red-hot – or even adequate – incomes.

Take two Americans whose fall from the middle-class was recently chronicled by the New York Times. John D’Amanda spent two decades running a window-washing service in Oakland. He closed shop in 2009, and is currently working at McDonalds, making about $9 per hour. That’s just enough to pay his $350 rent (for a shared bedroom), and barely stay afloat. Or Lisa Land, who at 49 gets by on her father’s Social Security checks. Her 13-years in customer service at a textile factory came to a halt in 2008.

With the right support, many JVS clients are faring better. Meet JVS client Rosanna Horton, who recently secured a job as the division manager at UCSF’s Department of Radiology & BioMedical Imaging. Rosanna’s 14-month unemployment started after budget cuts left her jobless, the third time in five years she was under or unemployed. She estimates submitting over 100 resumes and going on less than 10 interviews during that period. After four months working with JVS – attending workshops, participating in a 6-week job search intensive and working with an employment specialist at JVS, she was hired.

Rosanna encourages other job seekers to “never ever, ever, lose hope.” She was glad she took a chance on JVS. She initially thought that JVS couldn’t help someone like her, a highly educated job seeker.

Her advice for the job search is to “treat yourself every single day. You need something that gives you a lift every day that you’re on the job search—which is often seven days a week.” She recommends a walk, hike or a nice cup of mocha, which is how she got through.

“I’ve already referred a couple of people to JVS, including my twin sister!” Rosanna adds.

The middle class is facing a lot of hurdles, especially in San Francisco. But, as we know from Rosanna, “never ever, ever lose hope”. And come to JVS.

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