Workforce Training

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

Four Wrangler plants have made plans to close this year, leaving 1,000 workers without a job.

About 100 of those workers took classes. Now, half of them have jobs. The ones I talked to say they're happier and some are paid more.

"This is a whole different experience I had spent my whole life in a sewing plant," Gail Lam says.

"That was all I knew it was devastating because I thought oh, god I have to start over somewhere, it's scary," Darlene Anderson says.

Both, Darlene Anderson and Gail Lam survived the layoffs, now they're thriving, Anderson took computer classes and works as a secretary.

And Lam got certified to be a nursing assistant.

"Would I trade my life for back at Wrangler again? Probably not. Before I was doing a job for money, now I put smiles on people's faces," Lam says.

The classes, everything from GEDs to nursing boosted the average salary of the workers.

But, Wrangler still has 600 more layoffs on the way, and classes may not be an option for them.

The Workforce Center's going to do what they can, but of the areas in the state have had layoffs and there jus may not be enough to go around.

"They're trying to figure out who needs it worse or what areas because the state of Virginias in really bad shape right now with the budget so we're on hold so we can't even finish what we were doing with the first class," Florhline Painter says.

The classes are hope and help the county needs.

"I've learned where one door closes, another opens," Lam says.

To help you understand how bad the situation is...the workforce center only know of 8 open positions in all of Page County. So, a lot of workers may have to look outside the county for a job.

Many workers could also qualify for long-term classes under the trade act. That happens when plants close because the work is moving overseas.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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