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Group helps disabled with interviewing skills

  • Story Highlights
  • Group in North Carolina trains disabled people on job interview skills
  • Company decides to stay in business, saving 200 jobs
  • Web site takes bids on job opportunities, with lowest salary offer winning
  • Hundreds show up in New Orleans, Louisiana, for job fair
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CNN affiliates report on where job seekers are finding work across the country and how those looking for employment are coping with the situation.

(CNN) -- Unemployed people with disabilities are having increasing trouble finding a job.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities was at 14 percent in February, compared with 8.7 for people without a disability. The rate for disabled people increased 0.8 percentage points over the previous month, twice the increase for people without disabilities.

Preferred Alternatives works with the disabled -- people who are deaf, blind or have some other physical impairment -- to train them on how to find a job.

"I think 95 percent probably are too afraid to go out and approach someone because they're afraid of the problems with the communication they might have or they're afraid people are going to look at them funny," Jordan Wright, a coordinator for Preferred Alternatives, told News 14 Carolina.

Jeff Harkey of Harkey Tile and Stone was helping a woman named Cynthia practice for a job interview. Cynthia is deaf and visually impaired. She relies on an interpreter.

Cynthia can be assured that a coach with Preferred Alternatives will go with her to interviews, the group said.

Wright said the group has helped 20 people land jobs. Watch as Cynthia gets help with her interviewing skills

Midwest: Company stays in business, keeps 200 workers

A Lafayette, Indiana-based telemarketing company has reversed its decision to close.

Two months ago, Steve Lair, the chief administrative officer of TeleServices Direct, said the company was laying off all its workers. With this week's decision, 200 people are keeping their jobs.

Lair said the company found ways to reduce expenses.

"We had to tighten our belts," Lair told WLFI in West Lafayette.

The news came just one week before employees thought they would be out of work.

"We had thunderous applause throughout the center," said Linda Forham. Lair said the decision to stay open is permanent.

Read about employees reactions to the good news

Midwest: Site has people bid on job opportunities

Several college students have created a Web site for employers to take bids from prospective employees. The site is called www.jobaphiles.com.

The site was originally created for college students in the Boston, Massachusetts, area who needed some part-time work or recent graduates looking for a first job. The site has since expanded to include more job seekers.

"It's basically just an auction site," co-founder Adam Blakeway told KSHB. "It's for anybody who needs a job and thinks their set of skills can be used."

Employers post job listings and then candidates list the wage they will work for and their qualifications. To outbid another person, you have to lower your salary demand.

Read what the operators had to say about the bidding process

South: Hundreds line up for interviews at New Orleans job fair

Unemployment in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been lower than the national average, but several hundred people showed up for the first of two job fairs scheduled for April.

"I've been looking for a job. I've been looking and searching," Carie Edwardsteed told WDSU, which was one of the job fair's co-sponsors. "I've been to four or five career fairs and it's getting darker and darker, but I'm going to keep trying."

According to the station, unemployment in the area is 4.7 percent -- less than the national average -- thanks to rebuilding efforts in the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery.

Chris Hazelwood of Targeted Job Fairs said there are more job options if someone is interested in working for a government agency like the U.S. Border Control or the Army Corps of Engineers.

Another fair is scheduled for April 22.

Read what one job seeker had to say about looking for a job

South: Arkansas town gets new manufacturing plant

About a year after one of the town's major employers suffered major fire damage to a plant, Booneville, Arkansas, is getting a new business.

Last Easter the Cargill meat processing plant caught fire and the company decided not to reopen the facility.

Perry Productions will be building an American Spirit Wear plant that makes jackets in Booneville. The company says it will employ 30 people.

"We provide a service these importers can't," company president George Perry told KHBS/KHOG. "They can't turn it [product] around in three days like we can."

Northeast: French firm bringing jobs to Vermont

French firm ASK will lease space at the IBM manufacturing facility in Essex Junction, Vermont, according to WPTZ.

The station reported that the deal would be announced by Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas.

It was unclear how many people the French company, which makes access cards, would employ.

Read the report on WPTZ

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