Job re-training center in Henrico slated to close

By Andy Jenks - bio | email | facebook

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – It's supposed to help laid-off people find work, but now, a popular job re-training center in Henrico is slated to close.

Debra Taylor is preparing almost every day for a new job. She's starting over, after 30+ years of working in customer service.

Holding back tears, she tells us that losing the center would be like losing a friend.

"[Because] you know that the tools that you're gonna be using you can't afford anymore. The people that you socially interact with won't be here anymore, and your routine will be gone," Taylor said.

The Employment Transition Center in Innsbrook opened two years ago this week; a time when job losses made news almost every day. It offers phones, faxes, Internet and more.

"It also gives you a support system. Those are things that maybe aren't talked about but that we're all feeling subconsciously or consciously," Taylor said.

Job-seekers paid nothing to be here because the center was funded with grant money which is scheduled to run out in June. Even though the days of this operation are numbered, there is still talk of delaying the closing by three months, and transferring some of the services to other previously existing centers.

Bill Lamberta got two certifications by taking classes here, a concept that is being considered for Virginia's "One Stop" centers which will likely absorb the crowds that currently go here.

"I think it would be a real shame. There's a lot of people in the area that are still losing their jobs. Lotta people in the middle of transition that this place helps," Lamberta said.

Ironically, when the center does eventually close, five full-time staffers will be left unemployed, joining the likes of Bill and Debra in the competitive search for a new career.

"Just need that one right interview to get me in the door and let me show what I can do," Taylor said.

The Employment Transition Center has helped more than 1,000 laid-off people since opening in March of 2009. Its director tells us about 300 of them have found full-time work.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.