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Spanning the Region

Thursday, October 1, 2009

St. Louis Group Teaches Online Job-Search Skills

The Partnership for the New Workforce (PNW), a community collaborative in St. Louis, offers free classes to job seekers who are unfamiliar with using computers as a tool in their job search.

Applying for a job online, creating a resume and navigating through job-search links can be challenging for those with little to no computer skills. After a recent job fair, PNW heard from employers that there was a need for job applicants to learn computer skills necessary to complete an online application. PNW also heard from job seekers who said they were frustrated because they lacked computer skills. Many older generation applicants, particularly those in transition after years with the same employer, also indicated that they were not equipped with basic computer skills.

Employers and employment and training service providers within the collaborative came together with a solution. Experienced with targeting the employment and career development needs of clients, the partnership put together 12, three-hour, hands-on training sessions. These computer classes help participants learn how to create an
online resume, complete online job applications, upload electronic documents, save and update electronic files, and surf the web to locate job leads.

For more information, call 314-746-0716.

Program Offers Information, Loans to Memphis Entrepreneurs

With its Opportunity Bank, the South Memphis Alliance is doing its part to provide assistance to entrepreneurs in the Memphis area.

Opportunity Bank is a 12-week program that helps entrepreneurs start or develop a business. Participants meet one evening a week for three hours during the 12-week session to learn business fundamentals. Topics include creating a business plan, managing cash flow, business insurance and licenses, and pricing products and services.

Participants who complete the program are eligible to apply for an Opportunity Bank loan. The loans range from $250 to $5,000 with a three-year repayment period and a
5 percent interest rate.

Opportunity Bank targets women of color, although it is also available to men. A registration fee of $100 is required.

The program is sponsored by the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and the City of Memphis, Renaissance Business Center. Three sessions are offered each year. The next one will run from January to March 2010. For more information, contact Christine Telford at 901-774-9582.

New Illinois Law Protects Homeowners

Illinois homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments now have additional protection against foreclosure through The Illinois Protection Act.

Under the new law, when homeowners are 30 days late in making a payment, lenders and loan service providers must advise them of their legal rights and cannot proceed with a foreclosure action for 30 days after advising the borrower. If, at any time during that period, the borrower receives housing counseling from a certified counselor, they are given an additional 30 days to work out the loan.

Housing counselors will take the borrower’s income and ability to repay into consideration when developing a mortgage workout plan. Workout plans may include temporarily suspending payments, longer loan terms, lower or frozen interest rates, ensuring that the loan will be repaid in full, a principal write down or refinancing a new loan. The law only provides time and resources for the borrower and does not guarantee any particular outcome for the borrower.

To help homeowners take advantage of the new act and to share information about other government programs to help homeowners, the newly established Mortgage Relief Project is holding events statewide. Homeowners will have the opportunity to meet with a free housing counselor and learn how to recognize the signs of mortgage fraud.

For more information on the Homeowner Protection Act, the Mortgage Relief Project, dates of events and a list of certified housing counselors, visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation web site at or call 1-800-532-8785.