An Unemployed Parent’s Job Hunt

In Motherlode, Andrea Pate, a mother with two children talks about how difficult it has been finding a job—even a minimum wage one—and making ends meet. Pate lives in Milwaukee where the unemployment rate is significantly higher than the national average at 9.8 percent.

I applied for jobs in retail, as a sales associate, and as a bank teller. I have experience in retail. I’d be good at those jobs. I always get the email: “Thank you so much for your interest. After considering your application, we have determined that. …”

I know it by heart by now.

I was working as a home health care aide, at $10 an hour, but I got fired from that. She didn’t even give me notice, just yelled out the door, “I don’t need you no more.” Her boyfriend came back, I think.

When I was working, I was making $300 a week, and we got food stamps. Now it’s the food stamps and assistance. The assistance is $608 a month — $608 for three people. Our rent before was $575 for a two-bedroom, but I can’t afford that now, so we moved in with my mom. I thought about a one-bedroom, but it’s just not big enough for all three of us, and it was still too much. My mom has a two-bedroom and she’s gone all day, she works. I pay her $200 a month. I sleep in the living room mostly.

“Who are they giving jobs to?” Pate wonders. “Not me.”

Photo: Walmart



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