Workforce agencies say they're ready to help those affected by Orion news


ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - As close to 500 Orion employees in Oriskany learned Wednesday that the company would not be taking on new production orders, a local Workforce Development Agency is saying not to give up hope.

Officials with Working Solutions of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties said that while they agree the news is devastating, they say workers should not wait, but start to look, or at least think about other job options as soon as possible.

They say now is the time for employees to get through the emotional impact of hearing that they could be losing their job, look at their finances and then eventually the benefits they'll be getting from Orion and that Working Solutions will be there for employees to reach out to and also to come to them.

"Until we know exactly what the company is doing, it's hard to put in place a reaction plan but we will have one, and we will be working with them," said David Mathis, Director of Oneida County Workforce Development. "We've been through this many times and have been able to help many many people and we will help these workers at Orion."

Mathis says that Working Solutions will be setting up information sessions at Orion to meet with employees and give them information packets, and even set up an onsite office there.

However, he also encourages employees to also go to one of their four, "one-stop" career centers to find local job listings, but also for hands-on help with developing a resume, assessing their skills, and provide them with extra training and funding for it if decide to go into another field.

The State Labor Department had a similar message as Working Solutions, stating that their Rapid Response Employment Team has been dispatched to talk to company and workers about unemployment benefits, re-employment opportunities, maybe even work with Orion to have a job fair there.

The Labor Department went on to say that they will be very aggressive in pursuing these plans and that there is again hope available.

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