FOX8/WGHP telethon raises over $122,000 for hurricane victims – help still needed

Job assistance group still hard at work in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- There may be millions of Americans already into their holiday plans but there are also still some people ready to get back to work.

The upcoming 4th of July holiday didn’t stop an unemployment assistance group Thursday night in Winston-Salem.

A Professionals in Transition meeting brought about one dozen people out.

The group helps people looking for a job after being fired or laid off. The free weekly meetings offer people networking opportunities and emotional support during a tough time.

National job numbers for June show the unemployment rate going down to 5.3 percent nationally, but group leaders said finding a job is still a struggle.

“People are definitely going back to work but see there's this pocket of folks that you hear about the unemployed and underemployed -- it's taking people longer to go back to work,” said Damian Birkel, founder of the Professionals in Transition group.

The group was first started in 1992. Birkel said about 100 people still come out each month for the meetings.

Birkel another struggle that many in the group face is not qualifying for health care assistance through because of being unemployed and cashing in early on their retirement to support themselves financially.