Lalanya Tevyaw has been looking in vain for a job since last June, when she lost her $2,500-a-month position at a recycling scrapyard. Her dream is to operate excavators and other heavy machinery – “I’m not a sissy girl, I’m not an office person”, she jokes – and has just finished a six-week intensive training course to do just that.
But the 41-year-old is worried that if she is not employed soon she will lose her newly acquired skills. Without a job Ms Tevyaw, who lives with her sister and father, will have to keep relying on friends and family for support – especially since Congress failed to extend her unemployment cheques last December. “I haven’t had money in the bank for so long, it’s killing me,” she says.