Picente: Outreach Services Begin Wednesday To Assist Orion Workers

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that the first steps of a coordinated, inter-agency response to the needs of Orion Bus workers will begin Wednesday, with representatives of the Oneida County Office of Workforce Development and Working Solutions Consortium providing information and assistance outreach to Orion employees. Representatives of the New York State Department of Labor will also be on hand to assist Orion workers.

Picente said staff will meet Orion workers using space at the Oneida County Traffic Safety Building on Base Road in the Industrial Park, just a short walk from the Orion facility.

Picente said this initial step will be followed by other actions from the Workforce Investment Board, Working Solutions, and other workforce system partners. “Although the New York State Department of Labor will be handling the formal Rapid Response process as the layoffs unfold, we know that many people are going to be needing information and assistance as they deal with uncertainty,” Picente said. “This action establishes an emergency response station at our STOP-DWI offices that can be operated for the long haul to answer questions workers have. The Office of Workforce Development will be the County’s lead contact and will work in partnership with the WIB, the state and our other partners to help workers and their families sort through options and develop plans for the future.”

Additionally, the Mid-York Library System will be bringing its portable computer lab to the STOP DWI offices to assist workers with computer skills training and resume development. Due to the limited number of computers, pre-registration is needed for the two sessions that will be offered on Wednesday.

Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Alice Savino said, “The WIB appreciates the leadership from Oneida County to help reach out to the workers. Our entire regional workforce system will be involved as we work in the weeks and months ahead to assist the workers at Orion both in terms of information and assistance.”

Oneida County Workforce Development Director David Mathis said, “In a time when the future is uncertain, Oneida County Workforce Development is going to be there to help provide information and also to assure all of the workers that whatever their questions and whatever their needs, we will be there to help in every way possible.”

Picente said that initially, staff will be at the STOP-DWI offices to answer questions about both the process and the potential benefits and services that could be available to employees. He said that Working Solutions staff will also have career planning information available as well as information about education and training programs so that workers and their families can discuss options.

“Many workers and their families are in a state of uncertainty now as they wait to see how the sad news we have been given about Orion is going to impact them personally. We will be there next week to begin to provide information and answer questions, and we will continue to be there for the people who have given this job their all for as long as we are needed,” Picente said.

Picente said state and local officials are in continual dialogue to ensure that Orion workers are given information about every possible service and option. “The most important message we can give these families and our workers right now is that there is a team here, and that all of us are going to dedicate a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of manpower to make sure that we are there every step of the way for these workers and their families.”

Savino noted that some helpful information could be obtained by visiting the web site of the Workforce Investment Board, www.working-solutions.org. She said that Working Solutions Centers in Utica and Rome will also be gearing up to assist workers. Rome’s Working Solutions Office is located in Suite 1 of 300 West Dominick Street in downtown Rome. The Rome Center’s phone is Phone: (315) 356-0662 and its e-mail address is help@workingsolutionsrome.org. Utica’s Working Solutions office is in the State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street in downtown Utica. The Utica center’s main phone number is (315) 793-2229.

Once workers are laid off, the Rapid Response program established under the Workforce Investment Act will take effect. This process designates the New York State Department of Labor as the lead agency. At Rapid Response informational sessions, state officials will give employees an overview of the region’s labor market, offer information about Unemployment Insurance regulations and inform employees about employment services for which they are eligible.