Memphis unemployment rate rises, job seekers turn to volunteer - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis unemployment rate rises, job seekers turn to volunteer work

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Michelle Harp has been searching for a job for almost a year, going back to work after years of home schooling and working from home. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Michelle Harp has been searching for a job for almost a year, going back to work after years of home schooling and working from home. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Unemployment numbers are up in Memphis and one woman is taking an unfortunate opportunity and giving back to the community during her time of need.

Michelle Harp has been searching for a job for almost a year, going back to work after years of home schooling and working from home.

"After you've been out for awhile. You go to your interview and you go 'I haven't done this in forever,'" said Harp.

After months of coming up empty handed she decided to start volunteering. First at seven non-profits, in seven days with Volunteer Odyssey and now with LeBonheur, every week.

It is something that's in her heart, but also helps leverage her skills in a job interview.

"Most employers, they want to know why you haven't worked, what you've done in your down time and why you didn't have a specific job," added Harp.

Harp joins hundreds of others of job seekers, a number that continues to rise. In June the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, up from 7.5 percent in May and 7 percent in April, numbers that can be discouraging.

"I just keep plugging away, keep sending resumes, filling out applications, keep sending information," noted Harp.

But in addition to volunteering, networking is also important.

"Most jobs are unlisted and so the way you find a job is to have a great network that connects you with those opportunities," said Volunteer Odyssey CEO Dr. Sarah Petschonek.

Harp says that's exactly what she's doing as she continues to search for a job.

"It is a very long process. It isn't a fast fix."

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