Prize for poem about unemploymentI want a job, now
To edit, to write, for pay
End unemployment


It may not be the best haiku ever written, but for a chance at $500 I thought I'd give it a chance.
Fedcap, a New York group that helps people get jobs, is sponsoring a "Words About Work!" poetry contest this spring for the best poetry or essay on what work means to them. Since I'm among the 13.9% of the underemployed population in the country, I thought my poem should be about looking for work.

The top prize is $500 for the adult winner and a $100 gift card for the child winner. Previous contest winners have written about how their jobs have brought them greater independence, dignity, self-respect, confidence and how they overcame barriers to find and keep a job.

This is the first year that the contest has been open to anyone living outside of New York, although the poetry slam for the winners will be held April 25 in New York City. The entry deadline is March 15.

The contest spotlights employment-related barriers faced by certain groups -- returning veterans, residents of economically disadvantaged areas like the south Bronx, and young people exiting the foster care system, among others. According to Fedcap, a record 400,000 New Yorkers are unemployed and looking for jobs, and economists predict the city's unemployment rate will average 10.6% this year.

An extra $500 would be a great help to an unemployed person, so if you know someone who is looking for a job and can write, send them an entry form.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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