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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Workforce Investment Council

Life After Layoff

Workforce Challenge

When Kim Hikade left on the last day of her job at the corporate offices of a multi-store sporting goods retailer, with the company closing all of its stores, she felt a deep sadness at the loss of her livelihood and the relationships she had acquired over 13 years. “I went through such a range of emotions. Would I find a job at my age? And I worried about my coworkers. Everyone had a different circumstance. I knew some were experiencing pure panic about the unknown that lay ahead,” Hikade said. More than 300 people lost their jobs when the sporting goods store closed in May, 2010.

Workforce Solution

Within days of the notice to close, staff from the Worksource Clackamas’ Rapid Response team was on site working with the employees, setting up information sessions and workshops. John Blanton, who heads up the Rapid Response operations, quickly enlisted the help of Hikade and another former employee, Michael Shelley, to assist with the efforts to reach out to the displaced workers. So far, that outreach has made the difference for more than 60 employees who lost their jobs.

“People have had their lives pulled out from underneath them but they are starting to realize that there is a future after being laid off. They begin to see it as an opportunity,” Blanton said. Peer advocates have the advantage of a relationship with former coworkers. They assist their peers with navigating the process of skills assessments, workshops and planning for a new career path.

Outcomes & Benefits

Through the assistance of Worksource Clackamas and the peer advocates, at least 33 former employees are now enrolled in training programs at community colleges or trade schools, gaining skills for employment in high-demand occupations in fields that include accounting, dental assisting, health care and green industries. Nine people have started new jobs.

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