Special Response program helps hundreds of displaced workers

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- When one door closed another one opened for many workers who were recently let go from local businesses. They are now getting help through Workforce Resource in Eau Claire thanks to the Special Response program. Displaced workers can now get help by either continuing their education or getting back into the workforce.

“You can really put a value on it because we are talking about assisting and helping hundreds of people with these dollars, and they are going right back to work in our community here, so it really is something that has a huge local impact,” said Dan Lytle, Workforce Resource Coordinator.

Terri Rayner and Lesley Kentgen were both laid off from their jobs when iPacesetters in Eau Claire closed its doors at the end of August.

"I was employed there for 12 years, so when they closed their doors I was devastated; I didn't know what to do, I was scared,” said Rayner.

Thanks to the Special Response grant Kentgen was able to look into re-training and getting her Associate Degree in the medical field and Rayner is already looking at another job opportunity.

"I haven't been to school in over 45 years, to know that the support is out there, when this happened with the business closing; I never knew that there was this type of assistance. It's comforting to know that there is assistance and help out there,” said Kentgen.

"I would have never been able to do it without them helping me, without them to fall back on. There are the ones that did my resume, my cover letter; I wouldn't even know where to begin with that. I would have never had this job opportunity,” said Rayner.

"That really is the important part of all those programs, that we want to get you into a high-demand, high-wage job that you like, that is projected to grow for a long period of time,” said Lytle.

"I feel like I'm doing better for myself, for my family. My self-esteem is a lot better. I had a challenge and I’ve overcome it; like I can do anything I set my mind to and tackle anything,” said Kentgen.

Lytle said 90 percent of people who applied to the program end up getting jobs, which, he says, is very high success rate.

To learn more about the program visit Workforceresource.org

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