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Toiling from home
[November 29, 2012]

Toiling from home

ASHLAND, Nov 29, 2012 (The Daily Independent - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Kentucky Teleworks manager Joshua Ball knows he has good jobs for people with the right skills to work at home, although many potential workers tell him they think the whole thing sounds a little too good to be true.

"We have put well over 300 people to work this year, including 50 with Cincinnati Bell in the last month and a half," said Ball Wednesday afternoon after interviewing fewer than a dozen for potential work-at-home opportunities at the Ashland employment office.

Many people who do seek more information assume the only jobs to be had are "telemarketer" positions selling products for a commission, or they tell Ball they have had unfortunate experiences with telephone workers, he said. "It is the old thing about 'If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.'" Ball explained Kentucky Teleworks is funded by federal labor funds and supervised by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. "We have to validate the peoples' money that we're spending. This is not a fly-by-night operation," he said, noting Kentucky Teleworks provides at-home work opportunities for residents of 23 counties.

"We feel like there is a genuine lack of job diversity in eastern Kentucky," Ball said, explaining work-at-home jobs "can open the door to the global economy in the most rural areas," and noting work is something a person does, and not a place they go.

"I don't understand why people would not come and at least listen," Ball said, lamenting the low number interested in the jobs he had to offer Wednesday.

With jobs including consumer survey work, medical records and transcription, Ball said the people Kentucky Teleworks seek are often "vastly underemployed" residents who've worked purely to receive a paycheck, with no hope of benefits such as health insurance or a retirement plan. Ball said one of the most rewarding things that happens to him at work is when he gets a phone call from someone who has accepted a full-time job and is struggling to fill out benefit forms for the first time.

Mary Burris and Nancy Saunders were among the few interested in learning more about Kentucky Teleworks that afternoon, with Burris announcing, "We need jobs!" as they introduced themselves to Ball, along with Workforce Investment Act Career Facilitator Melissa Black and Kentucky Teleworks special projects coordinator Michael Warren.

Burris said she was looking for full-time employment that would be flexible enough to accommodate her schedule as a student at Huntington Junior College. She cited experience as a former call-center supervisor with a professional background in accounting and bookkeeping. Saunders said she is planning to return to school at the start of the year, and appreciated the potential benefits of a work-at-home job.

"I've always thought about working from home," Burris said, comparing the discipline required for such work to the dedication she needed to complete online college courses.

After collecting their resumes and discussing the nature of telephone-based communication jobs, Ball told the women he would pass their information along to partner companies. He also encouraged them to immediately log onto the website and apply themselves to the situation.

Representatives of Kentucky Teleworks are at the Ashland Career Center at 1844 Carter Ave. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit, call (606) 435-8498 or email Find Kentucky Teleworks on Facebook at

TIM PRESTON can be reached at

___ (c)2012 The Daily Independent (Ashland, Ky.) Visit The Daily Independent (Ashland, Ky.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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