Long-term Unemployed No More

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Unemployed single mother Katherine Hackett, of Moodus, introduces U.S. President Barack Obama before he urged Congress to act and extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits while at an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Jan. 7, 2014.    (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Unemployed single mother Katherine Hackett, of Moodus, introduces U.S. President Barack Obama before he urged Congress to act and extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits while at an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Jan. 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The Connecticut woman who appeared with President Obama in January to represent the long-term unemployed has found work managing a Windsor nursing home.

“It was a godsend,” said Katherine Hackett, who lost her job as a nursing home administrator in July 2013. “I didn’t have any income at all, so it was really a blessing,” she said.

A headhunter recruited her for the job, and her hiring March 7 meant she was able to stop dipping into her retirement savings.

“It’s an interim position, but I’m very pleased to have it,” Hackett said Monday. “It’s wonderful, it’s what I love to do, I love getting up in the morning.”

Hackett, who lives in East Haddam, and more than 22,000 others in Connecticut, were losing unemployment checks because Congress dropped its support for job seekers. States generally cover a half year of checks, and until December 28, the federal government had been extending the support, depending on how high unemployment was in each state.

At the time, she said as a single woman without unemployment checks, her ability to support herself had a brief horizon. “I’ll be all right for six months or so, but I don’t know what I’m going to do after that. It’s frightening, I tell you,” she said.

Her new job will last only until the nursing home chain moves another manager to the Windsor location because that manager’s nursing home is being sold to another operator. The same sort of corporate shakeup at a different nursing home company is why Hackett, 58, found herself unemployed last year.

She said she’s not waiting until she finds out when the interim job is ending before searching for another job.

Hackett, who was out of work eight months, and couldn’t even get a job as a grocery store cashier, said such a long, unsuccessful job hunt is discouraging, but the only option is to keep trying. “It’s very difficult but you have to get up every day and just have a positive frame of mind.”

On Jan. 7, Hackett joined Obama at a news conference to ask Congress to restore long-term jobless benefits, Later that month, U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney, brought her as his guest at the State of the Union address.

The Senate voted to restore federal support for the unemployed, with back payments to job seekers to cover January through May, or whenever they found jobs. The House of Representatives has not brought the bill to a vote.

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