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Consortium offers help to Fleetwood employees

November 30, 1999|By TARA REILLY

WILLIAMSPORT ? Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. employees who lost their jobs after the travel trailer manufacturing plant near Williamsport closed last week will have the opportunity to hone their employment skills in their search for new jobs.

Peter Thomas, executive director of the Western Maryland Consortium, said two orientation sessions for the employees will be held Monday at the plant on Governor Lane Boulevard.

The employees can sign up for the sessions when they pick up their paychecks today, Thomas said.

The plant employed 253 people and most were let go March 2, the day Fleetwood announced it was closing. Some employees will remain on the job to complete the closing process.

The consortium recently received a $100,000 grant that will help with the work force development of the employees.

Some of the help available includes how employees should conduct themselves in interviews, résumé development and what kind of training might benefit them, Thomas said.

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"We're kind of a broker for training," Thomas said.

The goal is "to help make the transition as painless as possible and to help them get into the best job possible," Thomas said.

Should employees desire specialized training, the Western Maryland Consortium might cover up to a certain cost amount, Thomas said. The employee might have to take out a student loan to pay for the rest, he said.

The consortium provides the services through the federally funded Workforce Investment Act to help individuals find jobs "as quickly as possible and at a wage that meets or is greater than the self-sufficiency standards for the local area," according to the agency's Web site.

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