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Laid-Off Workers Not Out of Luck

February 23, 2012
By J.W. JOHNSON JR. - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The thought is enough to cause any middle-aged man or woman's heart to flutter: you're 45 years old and you have just lost your job. What do you do?

Don't panic is the first thing job placement experts will tell you. Also, get your financial house in order to see where you stand, file for unemployment and then start considering your career options.

Learning a new skill set or trade after performing the same job for many years can be a daunting thought. However, there are options available for unemployed Ohio Valley residents who are looking to broaden their skills and start a fresh career.

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Workers who lose their jobs have many options available to them when it comes to re-entering the job market.

Christy Yeager, one stop operator coordinator for WorkForce West Virginia in the Northern Panhandle, said there are numerous options the organization offers to help out in tough situations. Through several career and work force development courses, interested parties can learn a skill that is in high demand in the state.

Yeager said the courses and training offered are mandated by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and take into account what professions and skills are in demand. The Northern Panhandle regularly needs construction employees, fabricators, health care workers, educational and professional and paraprofessional technicians. Additionally, there is usually a demand for administrative positions such as managers, marketing, sales, administrative support and clerical workers.

In addition to job training, WorkForce West Virginia also offers help with resume development, interview skills, email development, job readiness and computer skills, and also shows participants where and how to find jobs suitable to their training.

Fact Box

Q: You're 45 years old and you just lost your job. What should you do?

A: First, get your finances in order to see where you can save money from your current budget. This also will give you a good picture of your finances. Filing for unemployment also should be a top priority as well as considering your career options.

The Workforce Investment Act also makes funds available for the training, with approved training courses up to $4,750 covered for no more than two program years. The funding comes from a grant through the Department of Labor, Yeager said.

Yeager said the organization has seen an increased demand for new job training, with the number of unemployed or underemployed individuals remaining high in the Ohio Valley. She said there has also been a rise in individuals who take the opportunity to go back to school and learn something new.

WorkForce West Virginia has several Northern Panhandle locations, including in Wheeling, New Martinsville and Weirton. The centers are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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