Albany, NY (October 28, 2010) -
The unemployment rate in the Syracuse area is 7.5 percent, representing 25,000 unemployed Central New Yorkers, but Peter (P.J) Lebied no longer counts himself among these numbers. It was a long road to get to this point, however, with many trials and tribulations along the way. On December 7, 2008, P.J. found out that his employment as a Manager at Syracuse China would soon end. It was also the day he became engaged to be married.
"I told her the bad news and the good news -- kind of as a symbol that we can make it through anything," says P.J. of that day.
P.J. learned a lot during his three and a half years at Syracuse China. At any given time, he managed between 12 and 15 salespeople. He was a jack-of-all-trades at the company, working with customers and restaurant suppliers, taking in orders, putting together advertisements and doing giant tent sales for second-run merchandise. His last day at the company was July 31, 2009. He was one of the last five employees to leave Syracuse China, when he joined the ranks of the unemployed.
During this time, he relied on the support of family and friends and tried to stay dedicated to his job search. A class on resume development and searching for a job at CNY Works in Syracuse helped P.J. get started. "I took what I learned there and brought it home with me," he says. "I would fill out at least 10 applications a day, basically anything I knew I had the skills for."
After a long stretch - almost a year - on unemployment, P.J.'s hard work and dedication paid off. On June 28, 2010, P.J. went back to work as an Internet Development Administrator for www.Agkits.com, a subsidiary of Syracuse Crank and Machine. "We really needed a key person to come in and manage the Internet sales," said Brian Osborne, owner of the eight person operation in Liverpool. The company took advantage of the Department of Labor's On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program to bring P.J. on sooner than they would have otherwise. "They (the Labor Department) were great. They came right in, laid out the program and we got it up and going right away."
OJT allows businesses to apply for funds to train employees while they work. The funds come to the State under the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
These days, P.J. is busy from morning to night taking in orders, talking to customers, updating the web site and selling products to help keep the company's revenue strong. Once again, P.J. Lebied is a jack-of-all-trades at a Central New York company. He's a living, breathing success story. Better still, a month ago, he was married; things are finally falling into place.
P.J. has some advice for those in Central New York who are still out there and still struggling. "To the people out there still looking for a job I would really say just don't give up the search. There's a job out there, it may not be what you think it is, but you'll find it."
For a list of One-Stop Career Center locations go to the Labor Department's web site at: www.labor.ny.gov . One-Stops provide services such as job search and placement assistance, skills assessments, resume help, labor market information, career planning and training assistance. Job seekers can meet with job counselors to work up a career plan that fits their individual needs and skills.
Like P.J., job seekers can also participate in various workshops provided at the One-Stops. These cover topics such as how to network, upgrade computer skills, interview, prepare for a job fair or craft the right resume.
For more information on the On-the-Job Training Program email us at: StateOJT@labor.ny.gov
To contact the CNY Works, check out their web site: www.cnyworks.com"P.J.'s story is one of hope for those who believe that all hope is lost," said State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner. "It's a story of how the Labor Department is helping both businesses and workers in Central New York to claw their way out of this recession. Most importantly, it's a story of dedication. P.J. believed that good things were just around the corner and he never gave up on himself. He's living proof that good things can happen when you put your best foot forward."