You may recall the story of Aja Halvorson from last year’s News Cut mini-series on the stories of people who’ve become unemployed in the economic “downturn.”
“Even if you don’t know me, you know me,” Aja Halvorson says. “I really do rub off on people.” She’s right. She’s the poster child of many in her generation. She’s looking to make a difference, she’s gone back to school, but she’s also struggling through the flotsam of foreclosure, unemployment, and bankruptcy.
Here’s an update, based on an e-mail she sent today:
You did an unemployment piece on me earlier this year and asked me to follow up with you when I got a job. Well, I’m delinquent in notifying you, but I was hired by the U of MN this past December. It’s only a 25-hour-a-week position, but I love it and it feels great to be working again. This summer my hours will go up to 30 per week since there appears to be enough money in our budget for next year (however I am only 1/3 of the workforce for my program. We’re associated with the College of Continuing Education).
I’m still in school and doing very well. I’m working towards my teaching license. The new developments regarding financial aid are making me both excited and nervous to see what my educational future has in store. I think it’s a good move to eliminate private subsidized loans, but at the same time I’m wondering if there will still be the same availability for aid. But that’s a whole other matter which I’m sure you’re already hard at work on.
All in all, things are headed in the right direction. Most of my unemployed friends have also found part-time or temporary work, just a few of them continue to struggle with employment issues.
On a day-to-day basis, it’s hard to know how we’re doing economy-wise. The Commerce Department released revised economic data today, for instance, that shows the economy is growing at only half the rate it did at the end of 2009, and nowhere near enough to bring the unemployment rate down.