With the first wave of layoffs at Petri's Baking Products just a month away, Chautauqua Works and the Workforce Investment Board are making plans to aid the displaced workers.
WIB Director Katie Geise said in a recent interview with the OBSERVER, both agencies are preparing for the impending layoffs.
"We are trying to stay ahead of the curve," she said. "We are just trying to let people know what services we offer and what their next steps are."
She explained the WIB and Chautauqua Works are notified of the number of layoffs from the WARN notice filed by the company.
"Basically when a company is going to do layoffs they file a WARN notice which says the number of employees to be laid off. From that number we have been told 35 people will be laid off by April 5 and the remainder will be laid off between now and sometime in August, we have not been given an exact date," she said.
The WARN notice, which stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, said Petri's will lay off 228 employees in total, the most recent reason for the dislocation being "economic."
Geise explained with a mass layoff situation like Petri's, a Rapid Response Team is utilized to extend help to dislocated workers.
"On March 13 we will have what is called a Rapid Response Session which is a program with Chautauqua Works and the Department of Labor Regional Team out of the Buffalo. We are going to Petri's to offer an orientation on unemployment insurance," she said.
She said the DOL Regional Team will lead this discussion and Chautauqua Works staff will assist as well as share what programs it has to offer.
"At our local office we provide many services locally including resume writing, how to make an appointment before filing a claim, job searching, a list of available jobs. Our focus is on re-employment so that people will not have to utilize unemployment insurance," she added. "We also try to give people opportunities for training especially if someone has a skill but they do not have a certification."
She said another strategy Chautauqua Works and the WIB will utilize is called targeted recruitment.
"We are trying to do targeted recruitments where similar employers (to Petri's) with similar job openings would hire the displaced workers. We are going to try to set up a location for this near Petri's for easy access for the employees. We are still looking for employers to meet with them," she explained.
Also a career fair is in the planning stages for May.
"We are just trying to let people know what services we offer and what their next steps are. We are trying to stay ahead of the curve," Geise said.
Petri's Director of Operations David Bagwell could not be reached for comment.
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