Workshop Offers Resources for Unemployed

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COLUMBIA - University of Missouri Extension held a financial advice workshop Wednesday to include monthly classes in Columbia. MU Extension already offers its "Don't Panic, Take Control of Your Finances" workshop in Jefferson City and Sedalia. The workshop offers financial advice, specifically for people who are unemployed or underemployed.

Boone County's unemployment rate was 3.7 percent as of November 2013, according to the Missouri Department of Labor. Callaway County's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, and Pettis County's unemployment rate was 5 percent.

Vivian Mason, family financial education specialist, lead the workshop. Mason said she was previously unemployed for six weeks. Mason said this experience helps her relate to the people in her program.

"What I see from people is that the resources are there, but it's timing," Mason said. "Everyone I've met with in my classes, they're doing everything that they need to do to look for a job, they're not sitting around on a couch, they don't have their head in the sand, but the jobs just aren't there."

Mason said as soon as someone loses their job, she has this list of steps to handle the situation:

1. File for unemployment benefits
2. Talk to your family
3. Review your resources
4. Develop a budget
5. Set priorities for debts
6. Contact creditors
7. Stop credit purchases
8. Consider community resources

Mason's program provides information about community resources, but it focuses on the financial management side of unemployment.

"So often when we do lose our job, we don't want to make cut backs because we're used to where we were and we liked it, but that's what this class is about," Mason said.

She also said other than unemployment benefits, unemployed people should take advantage of career centers that help with resume writing skills, look for jobs and go through the interview process.

For more information on financial planning, go to the MU Extension family financial education website.