The provincial government gave the word last week that it would be closing down the seven employment assistance offices in western Newfoundland including the one in Stephenville, known as the Employment Readiness Centre.
Hudson, who is now working seasonally with the Department of Transportation and Works as a plow operator, will soon be looking for summer employment. When he heard of the closure, he called to make an appointment and went down right away.
“They said to come on down and they accommodated me right away, just as they always have,” he said.
During the hour he spent there, the woman assisting him also attended to three walk-ins in addition to three or four phone calls.
Hudson’s first experience with the Employment Readiness Centre was back in 2008 when he decided that he wanted to work at home since he and wife Wendy had a baby on the way.
For 18 years, nine of them in Canada and the other nine in the United States, Hudson had worked as an aerial technician with Westower Communications Ltd., a company with a branch in St. John’s. His duties involved building communication sites, including towers.
While working with Westower in Newfoundland for the summer, he applied to the College of the North Atlantic’s heavy equipment operator program.
He didn’t know of the Employment Readiness Centre, but after being informed of it by a friend he dropped by. He said it ended up being one of the best things he’s ever done.
“The people there showed me the proper procedures to go through on getting help, including postponing my getting into the college until I had the funding in place,” he said.
Hudson said personnel at the centre made all the necessary phone calls to put things in place. It wasn’t long before the funding was available so he could take the heavy equipment operator course in Stephenville Crossing.
After he completed the course, it was back to the Employment Readiness Centre, where he got assistance with his resume and cover letter.
Last week, he returned to update his resume because he is now applying for summer employment. He said it only took an hour of his time.
“Without the help of the people at the centre back at the start, I would have gone on and paid for the course on my own,” he said. “That’s a personal loan that I don’t have to pay back now.”
Hudson wonders what will happen now for people like him who need this type of help.
“Without a facility like the Employment Readiness Centre, where do you turn? The loss of this centre is a community service that the public will suffer for.”
Hidson’s wife also used the services ato secure funding so she could go to school.
She took the personal care attendant course at Western College in Stephenville, and is now employed as a personal care attendant with Western Health at the Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre in Stephenville Crossing.