Laid off camp for jobless Chicagoans

June 10, 2009 (CHICAGO) Laid-off camp is becoming a national phenomenon. There have been events in California and New York. Recently, some folks made use of their time to organize the networking event.

It's camp for adults -- and the only criteria is that they're looking for work. Byron Clark came to the Loyola University-sponsored camp from Cincinnati.

"Since March, actively looking for a new opportunity in the commercial real estate industry as a vice president of finance," said Clark.

LaShon Anthony was laid off by a suburban insurance company and is transitioning into freelance marketing.

"I'm here today to see if there might be people I could collaborate with and network with in areas I'm interested in," Anthony said.

The laid-off camp was created by three Chicagoans who were themselves laid off.

"This process is really key to finding a job. You have to make your own opportunities. You have to go out there and stir things up for yourself," said Lance Macon, camp director.

"When you see similar people in an unfortunate circumstance based on the economy and no fault of theirs, you put things into perspective a little bit better," said Vijay Krishna, camp director.

Jane Ackerson was hired while organizing the laid-off camp but wanted to be a part to offer help to those still looking.

"What I needed when I was laid off was to be around other people so I could lift my spirits up," said Ackerson.

The workshops allowed participants to get advice and share experiences, like when being interviewed by a panel engage each interviewer in some way.

Another hot topic: how to incorporate social networking into the job search.

Organizers hope participants find contacts, information and a little inspiration to continue their job searches.

For more information about Laid Off Camp go to

All of the organizers and panelists donated their time

Loyola University's School of Continuing and Professional studies also donated the space as a way to help Chicagoans looking for work.

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