By Valerie Baldowski
U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) is organizing an initiative aimed at putting the unemployed back to work, and helping them keep a roof over their heads.
Scott will host the 13th Congressional District Economic Recovery Exposition on May 29.
The event will take place from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.
According to information from Scott's office, the exposition will bring together a diverse group of corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies "to help constituents survive in tough economic times."
Scott emphasized the need to make an effort to spur an economic comeback.
"What is important is that we do everything we can, so we can help people begin the process of recovery," he said.
The event will provide a chance for attendees to talk one-on-one with Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselors, learn more about changing careers, and taking advantage of short-term training opportunities. Information on starting a small business will also be available.
Other information offered at the event will include receiving extended unemployment and health benefits through the federal economic stimulus package.
Scott said attendees will be able to explore available job opportunities from about 100 employers.
Some of those employers include the Internal Revenue Service, AirTran Airways, MARTA, Colonial Life, the U.S. Census Bureau, Six Flags Over Georgia, the Social Security Administration, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and CSX Transportation, Scott's office said.
"If you can help people find a job in these troubled economic times, then we are doing a good job," Scott said.
Preliminary March statistics from the Georgia Department of Labor put Henry County's unemployment rate at 8.7 percent, lower than the state's rate of 9.2 percent.
Scott called the state of the economy a "very unique and challenging time," and said he hopes to make a positive difference.
"I want to put something in my district that puts out some bailout help for people who are struggling," Scott said.
In addition to job leads, he added, the expo will provide information on how to avoid home foreclosure.
Representatives from various government agencies will be on site to provide counseling and help eligible individuals enroll in assistance programs, Scott's office said.
A variety of circumstances can lead to foreclosure, explained Scott. Many homeowners can qualify for federal programs to help them stay in their homes, if they are aware of such programs.
"He who has the information, has the power," Scott said.
Last year's event drew about 9,000 attendees, and Ashley Tanks, Scott's deputy press secretary, said she anticipates this year's event to be a success.
"We're pretty excited about this one," said Tanks. "We're expecting more than that [9,000 attendees] this year."
Those who attend will come away from the event with useful knowledge they can use to their advantage, Tanks said. "I feel it will go off really well," she said.
In addition to the job leads at the expo, a few more employment opportunities are offered through CarMax in Stockbridge.
Chris Murphy, general manager for CarMax's Southlake location, said the dealership is looking to fill several sales consultant positions.
"It's our typical busy season," he said. "We generally hire at this time. Every time we go into our spring and summer months, we're going to do our best to staff up, to meet the customer needs."