LAND O'LAKES — When it comes to unemployment rates across the state, Pasco and Hernando counties both make the Top 10.
This keeps a man like Dave Hamilton busy.
Hamilton runs a mobile employment office for the Pasco Hernando Jobs and Education Partnership. For people who can't make it to the Career Central stops in Zephyrhills, New Port Richey and Spring Hill, Hamilton goes to them.
Each month he visits locations across Pasco and Hernando counties. Stops include the Hernando County Courthouse, the Land O'Lakes recreation center, Pasco-Hernando Community College in Dade City, Cypress Village in Lacoochee and the Hernando County Library in Ridge Manor.
Part interview guru, part life-coach, Hamilton will help anyone who shows up at his door.
"I need a job," said a young man on a recent morning.
"What do you do?" Hamilton asked. "What do you like to do?"
Hamilton's 38-foot recreational vehicle is fully outfitted with 13 computer stations, a laser printer and a microwave oven. Computers are connected to the Internet, and Hamilton helps visitors navigate the jobs database. In addition to assisting local employers with recruitment, the Mobile One-Stop RV can also serve as a training and assessment facility for employers.
Aboard the RV, Hamilton moves with ease. One moment he helped a newly unemployed truck driver create his first resume. Next, he counseled an experienced sales manager about crossover skills from construction into other industries.
Having weathered a period of unemployment himself, he understands the stresses of job-hunting and unemployment.
"Folks that get laid off sometimes think there's something wrong with them," he said. "People measure their worth by their jobs. You spend more time with folks at work than you do with the majority of your family."
People also appreciate the ease of visiting the Mobile One-Stop.
"One day I looked at the paper, circled jobs and drove around," said job hunter Russell Wilson. "Wasted $30 in gasoline and came up with nothing."
Bob Gerth had visited the One-Stop several times in the last few months. He keeps returning for the ease of location and for Hamilton's help.
"He's vastly knowledgeable and shows a deep concern for helping you," said Gerth, who is looking for work as a sales representative or manager.
His dream job would be a management position with a fieldwork component, because he likes being out in the field.
"The fact that he's close to my home every other Tuesday has been extremely helpful with the cost of gas," he said.
Hamilton also helps job-seekers transition from pen and paper to the new world of electronic job hunting.
"Back when some of these people got their first job, they filled out an application and took it to the human resources department," said Hamilton. "Today, a lot of this is done online."
Some job-seekers become employees more quickly than others. Hamilton recalled one young man who pursued a pest control job.
"He had great work skills, but wasn't a skilled laborer," he said. "We registered him and I gave him the referral. He came back three hours later and told me he was no longer unemployed."
Hamilton said he wished it happened that quickly for everyone.