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Laid-off workers helped by community job banks
( 2003-09-07 09:03) (eastday.com)

Zeng jianfang, 29, a laid-off worker in Chengdu in Sichuan Province, has found a new job in a community convenience store, thanks to information offered by professional "job hunters," who were also previously laid off.

The shop assistant job offered to Zeng is only one of the 833 posts reserved for people in the community in a job bank at Yanshikou subdistrict office, a grassroots government agency handling the official affairs of several communities, including the community where Zeng lives.

"We hire several laid-off workers as 'job hunters.' Then they can help scores of jobless in the community support their lives by collecting employment information and filling the job bank via long-term contacts with communal businesses, hiring halls and other work places," said Wang Rong, an official with the Yanshikou subdistrict office.

"Based on the rising expectations of laid-off workers for their next job, job seekers will select matching posts from the bank and deliver the employment information to the homes of job applicants, who are entitled to make the final decision," Wang said.

According to Wang, more and more labor and social security work has been taken from state-owned enterprises and attached to subdistricts and communities. Her office has set up three labor and social security branches in communities under its administration.

Official statistics show that by the end of this May, China had seen 3,678 subdistrict offices in big and medium cities form special employment organizations, accounting for 83 percent of the country's total.

In the first half of this year, communities and subdistricts in China's 100 medium and large-sized cities had offered 600,000 new job oppor-tunities, which helped ease the country's increasingly press-ing problem of unem-ployment.

Currently, China has some 80,000 community-based service helpers. Zheng Silin, minister of labor and social security, noted in mid-August that the country's labor and social security departments at various levels should begin to rely more on subdistricts and communities in extending re-employment assistance, so as to assist 1 million more unemployed settle in community jobs.

Experts believe that community employment is becoming the potentially most promising sector to take in labor with a comparatively low level of education, especially laid-off workers who have lost their advantages in age.

However, the progress of re-employment in communities has also experienced a mental conversion, as the old feudal concept viewed it demeaning to cook, clean or do housework in other people's homes, items also included in community employment.

But many laid-off workers serving in the communities later changed their attitude and felt themselves lucky after earning satisfactory income and respect with honest labor.

Sources from the All-China Women's Federation said that 40 percent of laid-off women, who composed more than half of the country's unemployed last year, have found jobs again by cooking, cleaning and providing child care or delivering newspapers and milk in their neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the scope of community-based jobs has also seen an expansion in recent two years from traditional services for individual residents to the community administration and public services.

Ma qun, a 25-year-old mother in Nanjing, began working again in April in the Tianmulu Community after losing her job more than a year before.

As a community worker, Ma is responsible for the Tianmulu's public security and work safety of enterprises within the community. She is also obligated to organize cultural and entertainment activities as well as spread scientific knowledge in the community.

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