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Retrained for tough economic times - REPAC is on your side

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 13th, 2011

Courtesy photo
Robert Janecek used REPAC resources to retrain for employment after being laid off in the 2009 economic downturn.

GLOBE — Since the economy took a downhill turn two years ago, Americans have been fed with various numbers - sometimes good, sometimes bad - relating to economic recovery, jobless rates, new jobs created, unemployment benefits, and the list goes on. Numbers may give some insight for strategists, but as Robert Janecek can tell you, when unemployment hits home, these numbers are secondary to real life struggles. Working as a laborer contractor at Freeport-McMoRan, Janecek was laid off two years ago, when the mines were hit hard by the recession. Surviving off unemployment, Janecek knew he had to find a steady job again. He heard from friend about a program that helps people who have been laid off find new employment. Janecek had nothing to lose and made the trip over to the REPAC (Re-employment Pre-layoff Assistance Center) office in Central Heights not knowing exactly what to expect.

Now a year and a half later, Janecek is not only employed through JaLin at Freeport, but he is also a certified welder. When Janecek teamed up with REPAC Career and Employment Specialist Dave Franquero, the two began the long process of finding employment that matched Janecek’s background and work history. When no jobs turned up locally, the two began searching for employment with relocation. “We looked really hard, and we almost gave up here,” Janecek recalled. They searched employment databases for work with companies such as ASARCO in Phoenix and even well-paying jobs as far away as Antarctica - anywhere where his sills were in demand.

Luckily, Janecek didn’t have to invest in a new winter coat. REPAC helped Janecek retrain and acquire a welding certification from Gila Community College. The retraining process took him a year and half, during which time Janecek was able to receive his unemployment benefits. REPAC helped out with the cost of the college training courses, books, and even provided gas vouchers for Janecek to attend classes in Thatcher. Janecek explained it was not easy, “I haven’t been in school for 20 years, so it was a little rough, but REPAC actually helped me get through it. They were helpful with the daily grind.”

Three months after the retraining, Janecek was still unemployed and looking hard for a job. That is when he got the call that JaLin could hire him to work at the rod plant locally, where he has been since.

Janecek’s unemployment was a time of hardship and a lot of stress and looking back at his experience with REPAC he is thankful that these services were available to him. “I am generally fiscally conservative,” he said. “I know everyone is trying to cut spending and balance budgets, but this is a program I would like to see stay.”

For the complete article see the 04-13-2011 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-13-2011 paper.

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