Raleigh, N.C. — These days, Jeff Baxley's full-time job is trying to find a new one.
He was laid off from his business analyst position with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in July.
"It was tough, because I haven't been unemployed since I was 18 years old," Baxley says.
Budget cuts to education hit his group hard.
"They cut 30 positions out of our department – we only had 90 – so that's a third of our department," he says. "So, to me, that's a big cut."
It's not just education. All state departments are feeling the impact of tough economic times.
State personnel director Linda Coleman says the latest budget cuts are the largest reduction in workforce in the history of state government.
"In the past, when a state employee was laid off by one department, they were usually able to find a job in another department,” Coleman says. “But this is a new day in state government, and what worked in the past simply won’t work in these challenging times. We’re tightening our belts and doing more with less.”
That's why North Carolina has launched the State Employees Career Transition Center, at 313 Chapanoke Road in Raleigh. The center offers career counseling, resume-writing and interviewing skills development and classes that focus on starting your own business or exploring a new career.
It’s a new place where laid-off employees can go for information, training and help to find a new job, even if it's not with the state.
"Just through this facility, I've learned a lot," Baxley says. "I've learned how to look for a job better, how to interview better."
He's already had a couple of interviews and has more scheduled.
"I'm optimistic," he says. "There are positions out there."