Hope for laid-off workers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Losing a job is a frightening experience, and in a tight unemployment area like Marengo County, it can be disheartening at times. However, there is hope for those recently laid off from Linden Lumber and McClain industries in the form of incentive programs offered by the Alabama Career Center.

“We help individuals get the opportunity to learn skills and help employers train employees,” Linda Bowie, of the Alabama Career Center, said. The program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is administered by the Workforce Development Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

According to Bowie, the program helps pair dislocated or economically disadvantaged employees with employers who are hiring. Those employers are then reimbursed for much of the hourly wages paid the employee while they train.

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“Employers may receive up to a 50 percent reimbursement of hourly wages paid to a trainee,” Bowie said. Upgrade training may also be available for existing employees, for a predetermined training period of six to 26 weeks, based on the skill level of the participant and the training occupation.

“This program is designed to fulfill the employment needs of local employers by providing a trained workforce while increasing productivity,” Bowie said.

In addition to the financial and production benefits, employers benefit through a plan designed by them and a representative from the Career Center.

“A service representative and the employer will create a training plan that defines training objectives and goals for the trainee,” Bowie said.

She said the goal of the program is to help provide individuals with good-paying jobs and provide industry with a highly skilled workforce.

“The ultimate goal of OJT is permanent employment upon successful completion of training; to position trainees in occupations that will enhance long-term employment; and to build a skilled workforce for a growing Alabama economy,” Bowie said.

The center, which has an office in Demopolis, also offers other job-seeker services such as labor exchange – matching applications to job openings, unemployment assistance through claims information, hearings and appeals, job workshops, tutorials and training, resume preparation and more.

Additionally, the Career Center offers employer services and adult education including GED preparation, academic remediation and high school diploma.

The center is located at 1074 Bailey Drive in Demopolis. For more information, contact the office at 289-0202.