FOLLOWING IS A RESPONSE TO SOMEONE CRITICIZING THOSE RECEIVING 'FREE UNEMPLOYMENT' (on LinkedIn).
I understand your frustration with finding qualified people. There's no doubt that there are some people getting unemployment payments who are doing little or nothing to improve their skills and employability. However, I know many eminently qualified people who are diligently seeking work and investing in developing their inherent talents to make themselves even more valuable to employers.
In the two years that I've been "unemployed" as an architect (a building-type architect), I have earned two certificates in web design, have been doing a wide range of freelance design work, expanded my services to include photography, video and writing, been teaching as a substitute teacher in public schools, recently completed a graduate level university seminar (as instructor), will be teaching urban youth during the summer and am lining up more work all the time.
I'm also just about ready to publish my first book which I've researched, written, illustrated, designed and produced myself. http://andrewraimist.com/2010/05/harris-armstrong-book-preview.html
I've periodically gotten financial support from unemployment. When I earn enough money, I simply don't get a check from unemployment for that week. Without those funds from unemployment, it's possible that our home mortgage would have gone into foreclosure and thereby destroying the years of physical, financial and emotional investment I've made in designing, building and maintaining it.
The "system" is screwed up, without doubt. In some instances it would be financially better for me not to work. That is wrong. I personally believe that I'm working for something much more than just a few hundred dollars at the end of a week (although that's certainly part of the motivation). I'm working to make more connections and to demonstrate my skills and abilities to others who will recognize the value of my contributions and appreciate the value I offer.
I'm presently producing a series of videos for the local chapter of the US Green Building Council in exchange for membership in the organization and the ability to take additional courses and get more certifications. To my way of thinking, I am being entrepreneurial in a way that benefits others and myself simultaneously. To me, that's what work is all about.
If you have a moment, please view my most recent video for them and let me know if you think I'm wasting my time receiving "free unemployment". http://andrewraimist.com/2011/05/biomimicry-at-usgbc.html