Innovative solutions assist workers facing layoffs

January 14, 2013 

If only I had a crystal ball to view what the new year will bring. Regardless, we are optimistic and we will stay focused on our mission: To recruit, train and retain talent for the Suncoast.

For businesses to gain a competitive edge, we know that employing the right talent with the right skills is critical. Our team of talent experts are equipped with innovative solutions to serve area businesses, their workers and residents in our community. Here's a recent example of innovative talent solutions.

The Manatee Economic Development Corp., Pierce Manufacturing and Suncoast Workforce joined forces after Pierce Manufacturing announced the discontinuation of its ambulance line months ago. The three partners began planning an exclusive hiring event for 2013 on-site at Pierce Manufacturing for those workers facing impending layoffs.

This was a unique effort that came to fruition on Jan. 8 when 155 Pierce Manufacturing employees had the opportunity to interview with 19 area employers and discuss educational opportunities with five local colleges and universities. Pierce Manufacturing provided the exhibit booths, space and paid time for its employees to attend, and the Manatee and Sarasota EDCs and Suncoast Workforce invited businesses and educational partners.

The hiring event was preceded in December by a series of workshops facilitated by Suncoast Workforce and held on site at Pierce Manufacturing to prepare employees for re-entering the job market.

The first week consisted of three comprehensive workshops on writing an effective resume. The following week included resume critiques for three days along with visits by our mobile career center. The final week included three days of interviewing preparation workshops.

In all, more than 100 Pierce employees attended at least one of the on-site workshops.

Ultimately, we strive to see each employee transition from Pierce Manufacturing into another gratifying job rather than becoming unemployed, having to collect reemployment compensation or leave the area altogether. Our efforts to help Pierce Manufacturing employees will continue for those who need additional re-employment assistance.

For the coming year, we'll remain flexible and quick to respond to business needs, stay aligned with economic development strategies, and use innovation solutions that can fuel local economy.

Mary Helen Kress, president and CEO of Suncoast Workforce, can be reached at 941-358-4080.

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