"Things are looking up," says Patricia Denig, the county's director of employment training. "Local businesses are hiring." But the jobs out there aren't what they used to be. "In big economic downturns, it's not enough to have a degree," Denig says. "Lots of people have degrees, and they're taking entry-level jobs because those are the only jobs they can get--which means a huge loss in income."
John Heuser didn't end up taking an entry-level job, but he did have to change careers and take a 20 percent pay cut. With a BA in math and political science, and a master's in journalism, he covered sports for the Ann Arbor News--until the daily newspaper hit the skids.
"I never thought it would happen," says Heuser. "I loved journalism and the Ann Arbor News, and I anticipated staying there for a long time. But the changes in the industry in the last three years were bigger than the changes in the last century, and the writing had been on the wall since the fall of 2008, when the buyout was offered."
With a financial incentive to leave the paper, Heuser decided to try something different. "I started thinking seriously about teaching. My mom and my sister were teachers. I was fortunate. I'd been here long enough for a buyout, and when they offered it I took it."