Career Connectors helps people cope with stress of unemployment, find jobs

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There is new hope for people without work. It's a program that not only helps them find a job, it helps them through the often difficult and emotional journey that is unemployment.

Losing a job can be one of the most traumatic experiences in life, but there is help for people coping with the ups and downs of this emotional time as they try to get off the unemployment line.

After 28 years in the Navy, Carl Forkner thought he's seen everything. His toughest mission, however, came when he left the service.

"When you go from a senior military officer to not really having anything driving you, it's very unhealthy," he said.

It was 2011 - the depths of the recession. The economy was plummeting and Forkner's job prospects with it. The stress was taking a toll.

"I went through a little period of depression," he recalled. "I realized that I wasn't being very productive. I'd gained weight and didn't feel well."

That's when he stumbled across a group on the Internet.

At first glance, Career Connectors looks like any other job website. But it offered more than career counseling.

By meeting other people in situations similar to his, Forkner found hope.

"It makes you feel like you're not alone," he said. "You're not a second-class citizen because you don't have the job you want."

The group's founder, Jessica Pierce, claims to have helped 20,000 unemployed Arizonans since 2009.

Not only does Career Connectors help people find jobs, it helps them deal with the stress through support group meetings.

Forkner is one of the success stories. He now works for a Tempe consulting company, helping others find work.

Having lived through the ups and downs of unemployment himself, he has valuable advice to share with every client.

"I tell them that there's not a single person that is without value," he said.

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