Giving hope and providing guidance was part of the message Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas was giving job seekers Thursday.

Due to recent layoffs, former employees from United States Aluminum Corporation of Texas, RACO and International Extrusion attended meetings to receive information about employment resources and how to obtain unemployment benefits. 

“As far as the event today, the Workforce has been helpful in every aspect and trying to make this go as smooth as possible with as many people that they got here. I believe that this is the largest one-time group that they have ever had,” former United States Aluminum employee Gary Childs said.

“My thoughts and feeling is that I am sad that our company went under,” he said. “A lot of tears were shed yesterday when we all met to get our personal belongings out. Again, the emotions are felt here today as we see what everyone has to go through. It is just a part of a life; we just pick up and go on. That is all we can do.”

The Workforce Solutions emergency mobile unit was set up at the Waxahachie office. Job seekers met at the unit for rapid response meetings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. On the mobile unit there were 13 computers available for use with employment counselors on hand.

Betty Boyer from the Texas Workforce Commission talked to jobseekers about unemployment benefits, saying that after applying and receiving benefits it is important to keep a log of all work search activities. These activities could include going to a job fair, doing an in-person or phone interview and emailing resumes. Keeping a log helps to maintain benefits during a person’s period of unemployment.

Former crane operator for International Extrusion Kenny Russell said the event showed that Workforce Solutions cares about the displaced employees’ welfare and whether they get on unemployment or find a new job.

Mitch Whitehead, who served as general manger for International Extrusion, provided employees with additional information about the situation along with their paychecks from the three companies, which are subsidiaries of California-based International Architectural Group.

Whitehead said the savings program, profit sharing and the 401Ks employees invested in are safe. Those monies are in separate accounts that are not a part of the bankruptcy, he said, saying that letters from the corporate office would be mailed out to employees on how to access those funds. It was still undetermined whether employees would be compensated for any vacation hours.

“This is great having a rapid response and getting people the opportunity to get back on their feet to find a job. Hopefully there won’t be a lot of people that will have to leave the area. This looks like it is going to be a pretty aggressive program to get people back on their feet,” Whitehead said.

Rapid response coordinator for Workforce Solutions, Hope Hale, gave out packets of information with information about what services the state agency offers, such as resume assistance, veterans services, education and training opportunities, and career guidance. She also provided information about Workforce services such as its job matching system and workshops that provide additional tools to enhance people’s job searching skills.

For information about unemployment benefits, go the Texas Workforce Commission’s website at www.twc.state.tx.us. For information on services for job seekers, go to www.dfwjobs.com and for job listings go to www.workintexas.com. The Waxahachie Workforce Solution Center is located at 1712 W. U.S. Highway 287 Business; the telephone number is 972-937-8114.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.