Fox Valley Workforce Development Board using grant to help laid off retail workers

Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 4:27 PM CST
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The shuttering of big box stores is a growing trend that's left thousands without work. Now the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board (FVWDB) wants to help laid off retail workers get the support they need to land a new job.

"Shopko, Sears, Kmart. These are all names of stores that in many places no longer exist. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of workers who really have nowhere to go,” said Anthony Snyder with the FVWDB. “The retail job pool is just shrinking everywhere."

That's why the FVWDB is using a U.S. Department of Labor retail training grant to offer support to laid off retail workers.

"I actually have about $30,000 to spend on each person who comes through this door who's been laid off from a retail job,” said Snyder.

The grant money pays for training in a new field and also helps with living expenses while a person is going through training.

"We're trying to get people off that retail roller coaster,” said Snyder. “How can we get them trained for a job that won't be going away?"

Snyder says welding, truck driving, IT, and medical are some of the fields in the Fox Valley that are in need of more workers.

"Of the roughly 400 people who've been let go from a retail job in our region we have about 25 people in training. That's kind of a small number,” said Snyder. “I would love to see more people take advantage of this grant, because it won't be around forever."

Anyone in Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Waupaca, Washara or Winnebago County who thinks they may be eligible can visit the nearest job center to apply.

"I'd love to meet with these people are get them trained for something, for the jobs of the future,” said Snyder.

Synder says the FVWDB has resources available for other types employees who've been laid off as well. For more information about the FVWDB,