Resources available for those affected by layoffs in Waukesha County

By Katherine Michalets

Jan. 25, 2018

PEWAUKEE óThe loss of a job can be a scary and uncertain time, but Laura Catherman, president of the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board, wants people to know there are resources available.

Recently, Olympia Resort and Lake Country Foods in Oconomowoc announced they would be closing, as well as Sears in Brookfield Square. About 91 people at Lake Country Foods and another 102 at Sears are expected to lose their jobs. Olympia did not send a WARN notice to the state about its pending closure so the number of people affected is not known.

WOW Workforce Development Board provides rapid response when there is a business closing or layoffs, which is used to quickly assess the reemployment needs of affected workers and get information to those workers. Some of the services offered to affected workers include overview of unemployment insurance benefits, overview of alternative pension and insurance programs options, options for veterans, career planning and funding for education and training opportunities.

Catherman said her team has been in touch with Lake Country Foods to learn what the needs are there. The business is expected to close in mid-March. A job fair may be possible at the facility.

She said she wants people to know that the WOW Workforce Development Board served more than 500 affected workers in 2017 and the average wage of the new job they obtained was $20 per hour.

Also, she said there is a labor shortage and a lot of employers calling them regularly looking for reliable workers.

But, if a laid off employee wants to continue their education, the WOW Workforce Development Board can help with that too.

Itís been more difficult for WOW Workforce Development Board staff to be able to make contact with the laid-off workers at Olympia and Sears so Catherman wants to make sure they know about their services.

To learn more about the organizationís services, contact Mallory at 262695-7897 or