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Struggles of the long-term unemployed: Cassandra Burgtorf

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Ideally, Cassandra Burgtorf would love to find employment with a local law firm.

Burgtorf, who is two years away from earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix, is looking to get a head start in her future career but hasn’t found the job market too inviting.

“I just want to get my foot in the door,” she said.

Seven months of job hunting have thus far proved futile. In the last week alone, Burgtorf said she’s sent more than 50 applications to area companies in hopes of landing any kind of secretarial position.

She last worked for three years at a Lansing, Mich., medical office as a receptionist until January, when she drove 16 straight hours to Augusta to escape a domestic violence situation. Having close connections to a family in Harlem, Burgtorf said she has been able to stay on their property but can’t afford a place of her own right now. Going back to Michigan isn’t an option, she said.

“It was life or death for me at the time,” Burgtorf said about the decision to leave her hometown.

Before her clerical work, Burgtorf said she had employment in fast-food restaurants.

“I thought maybe it would have been easier with my experience,” she said of finding work.

Though Burgtorf admits her job search has been frustrating, she continues the process every week.

“You’re living day-by-day,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Cassandra Burgtorf

AGE: 27

HOMETOWN: Lansing, Mich.

LAST JOB: Receptionist at East Michigan Family Care; relocated to Augusta in January 2013


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