Fresno nonprofit aims to help employers, employees navigate job market

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As industries across the board are faced with the potential for closure or downsizing, the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board is getting the word out about the services they offer.

"Particularly, this time of year, it's typical that we have an uptick of closures, but I think it's been a little more significant over the last couple of years," says Rapid Response Coordinator John Lorance.

The non-profits "Rapid Response" team lives up to its name, offering employers and employees resources to navigate challenges.

Lorance says it starts with trying to avert the layoff altogether.

"If we can meet with the employer before the closure, maybe we can set them up with one of our partner agencies and try to stop it from happening," he said.

If unsuccessful, then they work with employees impacted to try to make them more marketable and help navigate the job field.

"We provide them with workshops," Lorance said. "That can be a resume workshop, interviewing skills workshop. After we get them prepared for the workforce, now we want to introduce them to employers."

The no-cost services for employers or job seekers is funded by the department of labor.

Within the last quarter, the Rapid Response team has reached out to six different employers facing layoffs, offering aid to more than 240 impacted employees.

"We can offer to retrain to individuals," Lorance said. "So maybe you're looking for a whole new career -- we can actually fund training for you as long as you meet the criteria."

Assistance also comes in the form of job fairs.

Rapid Response and Workforce Connection are now seeing overwhelming response from potential employers looking to hire.

Partnering agencies include the EDD, Department of Social Services, Community Housing Council and Clinica Sierra Vista.

Thursday's job fair runs from 1 pm - 3 pm at the Manchester Center.

More than a dozen employers are going to be ready to hire on the spot.
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