Employment Counselors Have Advice for Job Seekers

Counselors at the Lufkin Workforce Center said anyone facing a job layoff should not wait until they're out of work to start looking for employment opportunities. The staff there helps East Texans in 12 counties find work and improve their job skills.

Charlene Meadows, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions, said, "Any employer that we know of who's going to lay off, our local workforce centers do contact that employer and offer to provide services. Some employers will let the Workforce Solutions staff come on site and work with the employees prior to the layoff."

Wednesday, Consolidated Communications announced layoffs planned for the fall at its Lufkin office. The goal is to make the company more effective and efficient.

In 2004, Consolidated Communications bought TXU Communications for $527 million, including $3 million in assumed debt.

Jim Watkins, V.P. of Field Operations, said, "We're consolidating our Customer Service call center functions and our repair functions. We need to improve our efficiency. This will allow for greater standardization, consistency in our practices, and how we care for our customers, and will ultimately reduce our operating costs."

While large layoffs often increase the unemployment rate and lower the average wages for an area, the effects of small job losses aren't always noticeable.

Charlene Meadows said anyone looking for work should make looking for a job their job. She has some advice for anyone newly unemployed.

"Think in the terms of those skills that you have rather than as a job title," said Meadows. "Not that I was a machinist or I was a secretary, but what are things you know how to do?"

As of May, more than 800 Lufkin residents were unemployed. Almost 2,000 Angelina County residents were out of a job. Those numbers include people over 16 that are registered to work.

For more information about employment opportunities, go to www.detwork.org or www.workintexas.com.