Team to meet with Albertsons employees today

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

David Alcorn is a 19-year-veteran of Albertsons, the country's second largest grocery store chain. He moved here from Memphis, Tenn., a about a year ago to manage the Cape Girardeau store.

Now, with a little less than 48 hours until the store closes, Alcorn said Tuesday he's not sure what his future holds. He doesn't know whether he will transfer to another Albertsons or stay in the area.

Alcorn said this isn't the time to worry about himself.

"Right now, I'm concerned about my folks," Alcorn said. "That and closing the store down. That's where my focus is right now."

Alcorn's folks are the 79 Albertsons' employees who will find themselves out of work when the store is finally cleaned up, estimated at about May 14.

"Folks are going to be unemployed," Alcorn said. "No one understands that more than me." So when officials with the state Department of Economic Development contacted him wanting to meet with the laid-off workers and help them sort things out, of course, he agreed.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development's Rapid Response Team will meet with the Albertsons employees today to tell them about services provided at the state and local level.

Some of those services include teaching resume writing, interviewing skills, job search methods, on-the-job training, as well as assessment and testing, career counseling, and tuition assistance for vocational training or other education.

'Traumatic time'

"It's a traumatic time when you lose a job, for employees and their families," said Jim Grebing, spokesman for the state Department of Economic Development. "Our goal is to work with displaced workers and get them back in the work force as quickly as possible."

Since 1983, when Missouri's dislocated worker program was established, more than 100,000 dislocated workers have participated in the program, Grebing said. Roughly 80 percent have found new employment.

Ken Boyer, the manager of business and industry services at the Workforce Investment Board of Southeast Missouri, will be present at the meetings with Albertsons workers today.

"We'll be talking to them about where they want to go with their career," he said.

The employees will have access to services offered by the Missouri Career Center on Kingshighway, he said. They can use computers to check jobs online, they can print out resumes there or fax those resumes to potential job employers.

Boyer said he will also talk to them about self-esteem.

"When I make presentations to them, I tell them we take a lot of identity from what we do," Boyer said. "After someone finds out who you are, the second thing they want to know is what you do. Having a job is a source of pride."

Boyer said it's never enjoyable for people who are going through such a rough time.

"I'd rather not have to do these, but I think people appreciate knowing they're not out there by themselves," he said.

335-6611, extension 137

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