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DECD program provides hope

In the wake of its completed merger with Nashville-based First American Corp., last week’s news of job cuts and branch closings at Deposit Guaranty came as no surprise.

With today’s competitive marketplace, we can only expect more mergers and subsequent layoffs as companies unite and streamline in an ongoing march to profitability.

However, displaced workers are a concern. The Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development has a rapid-response team to deal with major business closings and substantial layoffs in the state. The State Dislocated Worker Unit was organized as a response to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of 1989 and the Economic Dislocation Worker Adjustment Assistance Act of 1989.

The WARN Act requires companies with more than 50 employees to notify the state and provide its employees 60 days notice of the pending layoff or closure. Once the response team is notified, staff moves within 48 hours to contact the company to offer assistance and to schedule rapid response team meetings for the employees. During these meetings, free and confidential money management counseling, career assessment, job placement assistance, retraining and unemployment insurance services are discussed.

DECD’s rapid response program is a positive way to handle difficult situations. Doing business is important, but we can never forget that it’s still about people.

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