Help for Former Gottschalks Employees

April 6, 2009 6:29:34 PM PDT
Three days after getting her last paycheck from Gottschalks Corporate Headquarters Rita Fike was one of the first people in line at the newest Workforce Investment office in Fresno. She said, "There's not much, many jobs left in this town. I figured I'd better get a jump start."It's the 7th career transition office in Fresno County dedicated to teaching people new skills that should help them land a new job. The office on East Shaw is different in that it helps professionals update their computer skills, trains them for a new job and possibly a new profession. It even provides mortgage and credit help. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said it's a rapid response program specifically designed for situations like last Friday's mass layoff at Gottschalks. Mayor Swearengin said, "The center here today is going to be a terrific one stop location where the people from the corporate office of Gottschalks can come get help with their resume, find out what jobs are available."

Despite Fike's early start Monday, she saw 7 of her former Gottchalks co-workers there. That's when the reality hit her, she's now competing with 299 of her former colleagues for the exact same jobs. Fike said, "They all have good skills and could fit a lot of jobs that I might apply for."

Director Blake Konczal says lately people from all professional backgrounds like banking and insurance, are coming in looking for an edge in their job search. He said, "When we open our centers in the morning we have people already lined up outside the door before we open at 8."

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