Fruitless job hunt limits families

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Chinnika Jackson's two young sons have the basics -- food, water and lights.

Chinnika Jackson has been searching for a job to support sons Jaden Jackson (left), 1, and Melquan Robinson, 3.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Chinnika Jackson has been searching for a job to support sons Jaden Jackson (left), 1, and Melquan Robinson, 3.

But she wishes Melquan, 3, and Jaden, 1, could have more. Ms. Jackson has been looking for a job for more than a year.

"As long as my kids have what they need, that's all that really matters, but I wish they didn't have to want for anything," the 20-year-old said Thursday while looking for work at Goodwill Job Connection. "Sometimes it gets stressful, but I know I'm doing all I can."

Ms. Jackson's struggle is shared by a growing number of Georgia and South Carolina parents.

In 2007 about 33 percent of Georgia's children were being raised in households where parents did not have full-time work, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2009 Kids Count Data Book, released Tuesday. Georgia ranked 26th in the country in that category, and South Carolina ranked 33rd, with 34 percent of its children living in homes where parents do not have full-time employment. The data uses 10 indicators to measure the health and well-being of American children.

The latest data for area counties, collected in 2000, shows that 8,065 children in Richmond County, or 16.5 percent, and 1,250 children in Columbia County, or 4.9 percent, live in families where parents do not have full-time employment. No statistics were recorded in that category for Aiken County.

The numbers have increased in the area since then, said Elsa Bustamante, the career center coordinator for Goodwill Job Connection on Peach Orchard Road. Her office has seen a 17 percent increase in repeat job seekers in the past year. About 98 percent of those job seekers are parents, she said.

"We rarely find just a single person looking for work," Ms. Bustamante said. "It's a challenge for them, especially this time a year, when kids are out of school. They're looking for jobs and often can't afford child care."

The circumstances are similar for many parents in Aiken County, said Mike Solenberger, the placement supervisor at the Aiken Workforce Center. A good percentage of the center's job seekers have minor children. And some face the challenge of a two-parent home where neither parent is employed full time.

"There wasn't as great a stress before because one parent would be looking for work and another would be working," Mr. Solenberger said. "Unemployment for two people hardly pays the bills."

Ms. Jackson said she received her medical billing certification two weeks ago, and she said she will continue to apply for jobs daily.

"You just can't give up," she said. "I look at the boys every day. They're my motivation. I breathe every morning because of them, so I want to provide for them."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

IN YOUR AREA

Find county-by-county data at datacenter.kidscount.org.

Comments (11) Add comment
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opiner
2
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opiner 07/31/09 - 04:50 am
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0
Make two babies out of

Make two babies out of wedlock and then go looking for a job? This is the situation that is perpetuated by the government handouts. Had Ms. Jackson prepared herself to be a valuable employee, established a steady income, THEN make two babies, her situation would be much better than it is today. In the meantime, she has two babies that taxpayers are paying for while she "looks for a job for a year". The fact that this scenario is repeated so often is the major reason why the stereotyping takes place.

guess who
0
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guess who 07/31/09 - 04:51 am
0
0
where is the father of these

where is the father of these kids,he need to come forward
you did not make them alone.

jus sayin
0
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jus sayin 07/31/09 - 06:10 am
0
0
Hey guys no one is perfect,

Hey guys no one is perfect, the point of the story is: It is hard to find a job in SC and GA. The kids are not preventing her from getting a job, the fact that so many other people losing their jobs is making it harder to find any work, and ofcourse even if she didn't have the kids she still would need to work.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 07/31/09 - 06:49 am
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Whateverthe circumstances are

Whateverthe circumstances are for her being a single mother, give the girl credit for improving her life by getting her medical billing certification. Hopefully a job will become available and she can support herself and her two young sons.

3M3T1B
9
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3M3T1B 07/31/09 - 08:56 am
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OPINER must have missed this

OPINER must have missed this part - "...has been looking for a job for more than a year." and adds to the story by assuming the children were born out of wedlock and that the women has never had a job. Opiner wins the Douche of the Day award.

DonH
13
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DonH 07/31/09 - 09:10 am
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I think the need for two

I think the need for two parent (husband and wife) families is very apparent. Once children come into the picture, life gets complicated. With two potentially working adults, the family has double the chances that at least one of those adults is working. In today's market with so many businesses working employees part-time, there is still more potential for some income with two adults than with only one. Stop the "baby daddy" concept. No kids without a marriage contract!

CarlA
114
Points
CarlA 07/31/09 - 09:43 am
0
0
Don't worry Mrs. Jackson,

Don't worry Mrs. Jackson, even though the dads of your kids aren't around, Obama gonna take care of you! The check is in the mail, just keep checking!

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 07/31/09 - 10:15 am
0
0
Don't be so hard on the

Don't be so hard on the Dad(s). Maybe she doesn't know who he is. Maybe she was a B to him and makes it a POA for him to see them. Maybe he's the reason she has food, water, and clothes for them. How much do you want to bet she dropped out of HS at 16 when she was pregnant?

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 07/31/09 - 10:57 am
0
0
"OPINER must have missed this

"OPINER must have missed this part - "...has been looking for a job for more than a year." and adds to the story by assuming the children were born out of wedlock and that the women has never had a job. Opiner wins the Douche of the Day award" + 1

Evans Ga.
0
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Evans Ga. 07/31/09 - 11:09 am
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She had a baby when she was

She had a baby when she was 17 and another when she was 19 and expects that life was going to be easy. Heck, I have been giving her the money for the lights, food, and shelter thus far with my good paying tax dollar. Yes, I have to get up at 6 a.m. and work until 6 p.m. to take care of my family (no excuses).

mon57dew
0
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mon57dew 07/31/09 - 09:17 pm
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Hmmmm. I'm not from this area

Hmmmm. I'm not from this area but I can see why they call it THE DIRTY SOUTH no understanding for the the human condition . We all have all failed onetime or another ask yourselves that. I guess you live in the perfect society so when did you decended from heaven.

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