Help and Hope for Those Laid Off from Blue Cross Blue Shield

Updated: March 19, 2019 06:17 PM

"It feels like a punch to the gut," explained Michelle Ufford, the executive director of the Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training. "People need to catch their breath, and realize it wasn't personal, and it wasn't related to their performance."

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She and others at the Workforce Center in Virginia received many calls last Thursday, when Blue Cross Blue Shield confirmed layoffs for about 40 people out of their Virginia office.

So they set up two informational meetings for those people at the center. The first was 1pm on Tuesday.

"We are here to help all of the people affected," Ufford said. 

Renee Prout was the outreach specialist who lead the meeting. "You go into shock and denial. It's a grieving process. You're like, oh my God, what just happened to me?"

She knows because she too, has been laid off. "A majority of people who work here have lost a job. We know what it feels like, and hopefully able to show everyone there is light at the end of the tunnel. To let them know they're not alone."

There are different programs and services available, like the dislocated worker program. They also offer resume writing advice and job counseling. Some people who go back to school may even have it paid for.

Also, there's the annual Iron Range Job Fair coming up on Friday the 29th at the Miners Memorial Building. "Although it may seem too soon to look for a new job, employers are looking for people. They are having a hard time filling jobs," Ufford said.

If you couldn't make the meeting the informational meeting this week, there is another one on Tuesday the 26th at 1pm at the Workforce Center. 820 9th Street N, Virginia.

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