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Economic association provided job opportunities in forest community

In July 2008, one in eight of the people who lived in Strömsund was unemployed. Many of them lived in isolation and were in need of help and support to find work. In order to increase the supply of labour and the amount of job opportunities, Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan started a social fund project entitled KC2.

 

KC2

Caption: Through KC2, an adult education association has developed its operations to help people go from being part of the project to long-term job opportunities in Jämtland.

"I am proud that we have reached our objective and not stepped into a project jungle. We have started the economic association "Kraftcentrum Närservice ekonomiska förening" and we have also started a magazine in which the unemployed can advertise for jobs for free," says Veronica Borg who works at Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan in Strömsund and who runs KC2.

Strömsund Municipality is very large in terms of its surface area but is sparsely populated.  The labour market is limited and there are few new jobs. 

"Without having any actual figures, it is my feeling that the unemployment rate is just as high today,”  says Veronica Borg, who when applying for project funds wrote that Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan would make use of "both formal and informal methods" to get those who were unemployed back into work.

Established operations

According to KC2’s own website, the idea is to link entrepreneurship with an individual's need to work and society's need for services. The method used has been based on offering unemployed people jobs at established businesses such as in the graphic production and carpentry industry which Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan has been able to establish contact with. Practical on-the-job experience and job training has led to permanent work with similar work tasks in different companies in Strömsund.

Throughput of 100 unemployed people per year has not been reached because the work is based on the individual's situation, needs and opportunities. KC2 is co-financed by the Employment Office, the Social Insurance Office and Strömsund Municipality.

"It has taken longer than expected but we have had to adapt to reality. So far, we have still managed to accommodate the planned number of participants," says Veronica Borg.

The magazine Jobbresurs (Job Resource) forms a part of the project's activities. The magazine is produced by the participants on behalf of job seekers in the area who are offered a means to promote themselves in the magazine.

The magazine is distributed to 800 companies in Strömsund and hundreds of public administration workers. There are also some who are involved in forest management in the county.

Clear player in Strömsund

The objective of the project was to, over a period of time, create a social enterprise under cooperative management. Kraftcentrum Närservice now employs 18.5 full-time people. They have a carpentry shop, a shop that is a mix of crafts shop and flea market, and they work with staffing and scanning assignments for Riksarkivet (the National Archives, SVAR). The magazine Jobbresurs is distributed to 800 companies in Strömsund Municipality, and a few hundred copies are sent to municipal departments, and in it, the unemployed can advertise for free after work.

"What is most rewarding is that we have become a visible player in Strömsund and that we have established good cooperation with the municipality, the Employment Service and Social Insurance Office. From a personal point of view, this assignment has been horrible and scary and exciting and interesting all at the same time. We are now standing on our own two legs and operations are well under way," says Veronica Borg.

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