At this time last year, StateImpact Idaho began a series called “Jobless in Idaho.” Through those interviews we met Kelly Barker, a single mom from Meridian who was struggling to find work after losing her job as an office administrator in early 2011.
The first time we met, at her comfortable, suburban home, Barker described the anxiety and self-doubt that took hold as she and her eight-year-old daughter learned to live within the bounds of unemployment benefits and their food stamp allowance. She described the questions that were keeping her up at night.
“What if my car doesn’t start?” she asked. “What if I get sick and have to go to the doctor? I don’t have that money to do it. I have enough to pay my house payment and to pay my utilities, and to put food on the table.”
At last, that story has found a happy ending. Last month, Barker was offered a full-time job in the marketing department of a mid-size company in the Boise area. It’s just the kind of job she’d hoped to get. “When I was hired, I had to go out and run around the block and let it out so no one could see me,” she said recently, laughing. “Because I was so excited!”
To hear Barker’s story, click on the audio player below.
More than 6,000 out-of-work Idahoans will lose extended unemployment benefits come Dec. 30. That’s unless Congress extends those benefits once again, as it has done several times since the start of the recession.