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Worcester communications company offers to help federal workers

Telegram & Gazette - 1/14/2019

Jan. 14--WORCESTER -- A local firm is offering to connect federal workers with communication skills, who are out of work because of the partial government shutdown, to jobs.

HEARD Strategy & Storytelling posted the offer Jan. 12 on social media and has heard from about 40 federal employees across the country so far, said Jake Messier, president and chief executive of the company.

The Facebook posting has also gone viral, gaining about 2,500 views an hour, Mr. Messier said.

"We're a small agency and can't help everyone, but if you're a federal employee who works in the marketing, communications, advertising or design fields and are out of work due to the government shutdown -- please reach out and we'll see if we can find a project for you to work on and earn some income," HEARD said in its post.

HEARD is a small business with nine staff members that offers services in digital marketing, social media, graphic design, public relations, media planning, market strategy, promotions and video content for events and other uses. It has worked with WGBH, a public radio station, the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and other organizations.

Parts of the federal government have been shuttered for 24 days, the longest shutdown in U.S. history, over a fight between President Donald Trump and Democratic legislators about funding for a border wall. The shutdown has thrown some federal workers out of their offices and left others forced to work without paychecks.

Mr. Messier said his offer came about as he, a veteran of the Marine Corps, and his wife, an Air Force veteran, were watching news reports about the shutdown.

"We still know a lot of people that are either in the military or transitioned out of the military that work in government spaces, so we know a lot of people that are hurting," Mr. Messier said.

What he's offering is small jobs that might generate $300, $400 or $500 for a worker -- enough to help offset a car payment or child care bill, he said.

Queries have come in from people who work at an array or federal agencies, including the treasury department, the TSA and forestry. Some have told Mr. Messier they are driving for ride-share company Uber or delivery food to generate cash.

Mr. Messier said he hopes other small businesses will offer work to federal workers.

"At the end of the day, we have to take care of each other," he said. "That's my biggest thing. No matter what side of the aisle you're on, if the government isn't going to take care of us, we have to take care of each other."


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