Grass-roots job service worked its way out of a job

Aug. 14. It looks like a buoyant economy—consumer confidence in June rose higher than expected—helped put a Lake Norman job resources group out of work. The board of Helping Others Help Themselves (HOHT) has decided there is no longer a need to continue operations.

“The economy is back on its feet and we’ve run out of people to help,” said co-founder Joe Carbon, who launched HOHT seven years ago with Vickie Stevens, another active Lake Norman Chamber volunteer.

HOHT skills workshop

The group held numerous job fairs as well as coaching sessions for people who were out of work or re-entering the job force.

Over the course of seven years, though, much has changed. In addition to rising consumer confidence, job growth is strong, with more than 209,000 jobs coming on in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At 4.3 percent, the jobless rate is approaching full employment. About 200,000 new jobs a month is considered a sign of a robust economy.

In April of 2010, the US jobless rate was almost 10 percent.

Carbon plans to keep the  HOHT website up and running, but “since economies are cyclical, HOHT may be called upon again in the future by the Lake Norman community to help others help themselves,” Carbon said. “Maintaining our website ability will be important should a restart ever become necessary.”

HOHT had support across North Meck, with an assist from the Lake Norman Chamber where both Carbon and Stevens are ambassadors.

Among HOHT achievements:

• Created a website and a “job bank” where employers could post jobs and job seekers post resumes and then managed them in order to help employers and job seekers connect.

• Monthly workshops to educate and improve job seeker skills with a strong focus on networking.

• Encouraged job seekers to attend Lake Norman Chamber events as well as other business groups.


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