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Helping Long Islanders find work

Mark Grossman

Mark Grossman

A "significant" number of Long Islanders whose jobless plights have outlasted their unemployment checks have disappeared from the state labor department's radar screen, a state official said.

As of last month, Long Island had more than 15,000 people who had exhausted their 99 or 93 weeks of checks, the state said. It's not clear how many of them are still jobless because they don't have to report to the labor department anymore.

“They think that the services here go along with the check,” said Mark Grossman, the state labor department’s top official on Long Island. “I don’t know how many people just sort of leave the system, but it’s significant enough."

Labor officials have been trying to get the long-term jobless back into the fold. Beyond sending letters about free classes and services, they're training counselors on how to help this group.

“We’re training our people on how do you work with someone who has been unemployed for a couple years and is very discouraged,” Grossman said. “How do you re-energize their job searches? It’s a whole kind of re-evaluation of their skill sets, of the way they’re marketing themselves on paper and in person to re-energize the job search.

"We’re at fairly full capacity, but more people can come in. Their benefits have run out, but we can provide services at least.”

A list of job help centers by county is at

Also, for the price of a long-distance call, job hunters can get free advice from counselors at a leading consultant hired by companies to help laid off workers transition or find new jobs.

On Dec. 27 and 28, Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas will have up to 40 counselors available to answer questions. Up to 12 of them will be dedicated to current and former members of the military, including veterans and reservists, and these callers should ask for these specific counselors.

Call times are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the number is 312-422-5010. It’s the outplacement firm’s 25th annual two-day national job search call-in.

“What we commonly hear is that the job search has “hit a wall,” just don’t seem to be getting any call backs or they’ve had interviews but don’t get the offers,” said company spokesman James Pedderson. “Many can’t identify a specific issue, so the counselor tries to get a handle on what strategies the job seeker has been using and then offers some alternatives.”

Counselors will stay on the line as along as necessary for callers who need more attention, he said.

Basic questions, such as how long a resume should be, are also appropriate, because outplacement firms like Challenger often track what works and what doesn’t.

“In many cases, there is no ‘correct’ answer,” Pederson said. “Our counselor simply provides the strategies that we emphasize and that have been used successfully by people going through our outplacement program.”

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