Valley Works: Bank of America employees expect layoffs

FRESNO, Calif.

The call center, located in Northwest Fresno, will officially close its doors at the end of August.

In an economy where it is still difficult to find a full-time job that pays a decent wage, Workforce officials believe it won't be easy to absorb the 500 plus workers who will be dumped back into the workforce when the Bank of America call center finally closes for good next month.

"The jobs in question are needed; we have an insufficient supply of jobs for the workers who are unemployed," said Blake Konczal, CEO of Fresno Workforce Investment Board.

Konzcal said Fresno is not only losing jobs but a good corporate company in Bank of America. He noted that by law Bank of America was only required to give its employees a 60 day layoff notice. Local workers have known about the closure of the call center for almost a year.

"They gave greater notice than what was required of the law, so it is helpful for the unemployed worker though it doesn't change the fact that we have a hyper competitive job market right now," Konczal said.

Those who have been through a lay off before say it is important to start your job search right away. Danielle was preparing for the closure of the retail store where she worked earlier this year. Her advice, get your resume ready and start looking while you still have a job.

"I think it's good to network with your own personal people that you know and friends of friends because it's a lot of word of mouth that they may know of an opening," Danielle said.

It is also important to take advantage of the resources that are available to people facing a layoff.

"The main resources they should start with is workforce connection because we can help you with your resumes and interviewing skills," Tamico Thomas, an Outplacement Specialist said.

Tamiko Thomas heads up the Rapid Response team for the Workforce Investment Board. If and when her team is called in to help employees of Bank of America Thomas says a number of agencies will be involved.

"A rep from EDD to talk about how to file for unemployment benefits, a rep from our small business development center because some people like to take that opportunity to turn their hobbies or ideas into businesses," Thomas said. "And we also partner with clear point financial solutions to discuss credit counseling and debt management and housing alternatives.

Thomas says those involved in helping people through a lay off see themselves as the light at the end of what can be a very long tunnel.

"Because it reduces the stress level, it gives them the comfort and relief to know that there is help available," Thomas said.

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