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Displaced workers seek career opportunities

TJC held a special Returning Adult Workshop in August to present recently laid-off workers with options for furthering their education.

Although three-to-four similar workshops are held each semester, this particular meeting was called to specificallybenefit the displaced employees of Goodyear, National Diversified Sales and Astro Air.

“It’s to help adults that are thinking of returning to college,” said Dr. Vickie Geisel, Adult Student Services Counselor for TJC, “[whether] they need to get a new job, need to return to the workforce, or they’re single parents that need something new in their lives. It’s easy for an 18-year-old to start; it’s not as easy for someone your parents’ age. We’re here to make them feel welcome.”

One such displaced worker is Louie Williams, a former employee of Goodyear who was laid off on Aug. 8. Williams, currently interested in law enforcement and radiology, found the information provided at the meeting “helpful.”

“My oldest struggle,” said Williams, a husband and father of three children aged 5, 6 and 9, “would by studying part time and still trying to provide for my family.”

The event featured speakers from various services at TJC and counselors from each of the academic schools, andalso was held in conjunction with the East Texas Workforce Commission.

Cheryl Newton, an associate with the Workforce Solutions of East Texas division, recently held a career fair in which financial options were provided for the former employees to go back to school.

Newton firmly believes that people have the resources to pursue a new career.

“Since Goodyear’s layoff, a lot of people have gone back to school,” Newton said. “That translates into success forthe student and the employer. What better package could an employer want than someone with experience that has the willingness to learn?”

Overall, Geisel believes that people shouldn’t be discouraged from taking this opportunity.

“This is their time to go after their goals,” Geisel said. “We’re here to say, ‘What can TJC do for you?'”

Other workshops are expected in the coming months.

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