As part of the Huffington Post's efforts to bear witness to the effects of the current economic environment on ordinary Americans, we're rounding up some of the most compelling stories reported by local news organizations around the country.
Jere Downs of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that 10,000 people applied for 90 jobs at a General Electric factory there over three days. The positions have a salary of about $27,000 per year, but come with extensive benefits. "There are no jobs out there paying these kinds of wages that also offer these kind of benefits," said Jerry Carney, president of the local IUE-CWA labor union.
For the roughly 8,000 former factory workers who applied, these jobs are their only hope to make more than minimum wage. Only half of the prospective employees graduated from high school. Just five percent had a bachelor's degree or higher. For these men and women, the options are few. "I am thinking seriously about going to McDonalds," said Shane Hopkins, 48, "just for the benefits if nothing else."
Backers of two potential coal power plants that could create thousands of jobs in Michigan are at odds with green energy proponents, who see the state's economic future in environmentally friendly power. Sven Gustafson of MLIve.com reports on the delicate balancing act between creating employment today and preparing for employment tomorrow.
Gayle Miller, legislative director of the Sierra Club, told the Lansing State Journal that "if we build these plants, we're sending the message to the world that we're not interested in clean energy."
But a number of state officials joined union workers and energy lobbyists to say that any and all income sources are needed to reinvigorate the state economy: "I want not only green jobs, I want any job that pays green," said a state representative.
Reporter Becky Bosshart lost her job while working on a series about the unemployed, she writes in Las Vegas Weekly. Like many across the country, and especially in the newspaper industry, Bosshart found herself lost and scared. Her life, she explains, was in the hands of government bureaucrats who doled out her unemployment checks and mishandled her information.
Bosshart weaves her own story in with the subjects of her reports and people she has met recently, and comes to the realization that she and they are all part of a larger community.
HuffPost readers: Seen a good local story? Heard about a heroic judge, neighbor, or doctor helping people stay in their homes? Tell us about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.