Augusta Economy

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Struggles of the long-term unemployed: Jonathan Henderson

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Jonathan Henderson estimates he has sent out more than 300 job applications in the past nine months.

Jonathan Henderson  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Jonathan Henderson

His last job, quality auditor at Augusta Sportswear, lasted only about four months before he found out the company was laying off about 20 employees last summer. He found seasonal work this year as a restaurant server at Augusta National Golf Club for Masters Week but hasn’t been able to nail a permanent position.
“This (looking for work) is an every Monday through Friday job,” said Henderson, whose ideal job is in the industrial or culinary sectors. “It’s a job looking for a job.”

Henderson came from his hometown of Savannah, Ga., to Augusta in 2009 to follow his fiancée. In Savannah, he was maintenance engineer at Hilton Garden Inn for about a year and previously worked as a deck-hand for a riverboat company on the Savannah River.

Henderson’s first career aspirations focused on basketball. He played guard in the 1980s for Georgia Tech. He also briefly played in the New York Knicks’ camp and summer league.

Henderson, who is on the verge of losing his home, just wants an opportunity to provide for himself and his fiancée.

In July, he received forklift, OSHA and other certifications through a Salvation Army program, and he also takes advantage of services offered through Goodwill’s Job Connection and the state Department of Labor office in downtown Augusta.

Henderson has applied to several local manufacturing companies such as Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark and Starbucks in recent months. He said he feels as if he has run out of places to apply and routinely follows up on those previously submitted applications.

“It’s very stressful,” he said. “It’s very aggravating. Also at the same time, it’s very confusing because you don’t know what else to do. You wonder to yourself, ‘Is it something that I’m lacking?’ I know I’m not the only person going through what I’m going through. Something needs to be done about it.”

Jonathan Henderson

AGE: 50

HOMETOWN: Savannah, Ga.

LAST JOB: Quality auditor at Augusta Sportswear; laid off in June 2012


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