‘Face of unemployment’ gets hired after employer reaches out to News 8

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There’s a very happy ending for someone who had been one of the “faces on unemployment” on News 8: He’s no longer unemployed.

“I feel blessed that you guys gave me the opportunity with the media,” Giovanni Chavez said Thursday.

Jay Gentry, the operations director for several UPS Store franchises in central Indiana, saw News 8’s report and thought to himself that he needed to give Chavez a job.

“I was watching WISH-TV and it was simple,” Gentry said.

He reached out to News 8, and the rest was history.

Chavez has a master’s degree but told News 8 in late June he just couldn’t find work since he was laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chavez is in the middle of training at his new job as a customer associate at the UPS Store.

“It feels amazing man,” Chavez said. “You reached out to me and let me know, and here I am.”

News 8 first met up with Chavez in June, then several more times as the saga in Indiana continued. That saga includes when a Marion County judge ordered the state to continue paying unemployment benefits and when the state didn’t immediately follow the judge’s ruling.

“We’re just left in the dark. Frustrated, scared,” Chavez said at the time.

But, those days now seem like a distant memory. He now clocks in to a full-time job with benefits. “It was a big relief,” Chavez said. “To go from everything I’ve endured over the last year and a half to now finally be a part of something.”

That something all started when the store’s operations director reached out and asked for Chavez’s contact information because he saw him on News 8 and liked what he saw.

“I saw someone who was looking for a job,” Gentry said. “We’re always looking for great talent, charismatic people.”

Chavez seemed all that and more on Thursday in helping customer after customer with a smile on his face. He’s just an associate for now at the 10th Street and Shadeland Avenue location, but with 12 franchises in central Indiana as well as a large print shop, Chavez has lots of opportunities for growth.

Gentry said that Chavez was “more than qualified.

“We hope to get him on our management track program and work his way up,” Gentry said. “I want to thank WISH-TV for putting this together for us.”

Chavez said, “I feel very grateful. I feel in debt to him. I have a lot of prove.”

But so far, things are going smooth and, most importantly for Chavez, a paycheck is coming very soon, something he hasn’t seen in about 15 months.

“That first paycheck is going to bills I’m sure,” Chavez said and then laughed. “But, it’s going to be great just to know that I can count on this coming every other week from here on out.”

He said he’s happy to leave the “face of unemployment” label behind, hopefully for good. “I’m happy to shake that,” Chavez said. “I just hope that for everyone else who is dealing with this, I just hope they continue to get their benefits and hopefully they can get an opportunity as well, be as lucky as I was.”