Retraining opportunities help laid off workers

Published 2:20 am Monday, September 7, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Going back to school may not be at the top of the list of priorities for many adults, but area employment experts say that could be the answer to finding a job in the future.
Al Etheridge, coordinator for the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development organization, said recent lay offs at area industries have created opportunities for many displaced workers.
Etheridge said the jobs that have been lost in recent months may be gone forever causing those displaced workers to seek employment in new fields.
For those who may see going back to school as a financial impossibility, may be pleased to know there is help available through a special program of the Alabama Career Center.
Janice Grayson, manager of the Brewton branch of the Alabama Career Center, says there are services, including financial assistant, offered through the center that make going back to school possible.
Brewton resident Larry Lynn is taking full advantage of the WIA program after being laid off from his job at Alabama River Newsprint.
Lynn, who is enrolled in a drafting and design program at Jefferson Davis Community College, said he expects to finish the course in 18 months with the funds being covered by WIA.
The WIA program is a tool displaced workers, like Lynn, can utilize to learn skills that will make them more attractive to potential employers in fields other than those they would normally seek out, Grayson said.
That scenario has played out for some many Alabama employees, including employees in the Escambia County area, that Grayson said the services of the Center are becoming more and more important.
Certain programs are covered under WIA, mostly at the community college or trade school level, Grayson said.
Grayson said the consideration for assistance is based on income of the participant.
Etheridge said growth in industries is looking good for this area and workers need to be ready for work.
Grayson said funding is available for those who qualify and for those who apply.
Etheridge had three words of advice for workers who may be considering training for a new skill: “Do it now.”

Email newsletter signup