LA Workforce Comm. to help GM workers, others facing layoffs

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana's Workforce Commission's Rapid Response unit will hold orientation sessions and open a worker transition center for nearly 800 workers at Shreveport's General Motors plant and for 200 employees of GM suppliers also facing layoffs.

GM said last month it was eliminating its second shift on September 26. The layoffs affect 716 hourly workers and 73 salaried employees.

"Our Rapid Response unit is fully prepared to assist these workers by connecting them with support services during the transition and helping them find new jobs," Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Tim Barfield said.  "We will establish a worker transition center on site to create a common ground where workers can support each other while our staff helps to determine and respond to their re-employment needs."

"We owe it to these workers to do all we can to assist them during this difficult time of transition," Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover said.  "It is important that even as we continue working to secure new job opportunities, we assist those who are temporarily caught in the uncertainty of a changing economy."

Hourly workers can attend the first orientation session at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, or a second one at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 13.  Both will be held at the Shreveport assembly plant at 7600 General Motors Blvd.  The sessions tell affected employees about the services available to them through the Louisiana Workforce Commission's Rapid Response unit.

Similar sessions for the affected salaried employees will be at 9 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, or at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, also at the Shreveport facility.

The Workforce Commission will also hold sessions for more than 200 people who work for local GM suppliers and vendors. Those meetings will be at 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, or 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27.  They'll be held at the club level sky box at Independence Stadium at 3301Pershing Blvd.  Participants should take the elevator to the club level.

A worker transition center will be open on site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, beginning Monday, Aug. 18, through Friday, Sept. 26.  The center will offer computers, Internet access and staff to provide Rapid Response services.

Services include job placement assistance, job counseling, job search workshops, labor market information, résumé preparation assistance, interview preparation, online job search assistance, veterans' assistance information, occupational retraining, trade adjustment assistance, debt counseling, out-of-area job search assistance, relocation assistance, on-the-job training, unemployment insurance and other supportive services as needed.

Rapid Response services are offered at no cost to the employer or the participating employees.

Workers affected by the layoffs can call the Louisiana Workforce Commission Rapid Response coordinator at 318-362-5119 for more information.