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Career center opens

Assistance is now available for the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs due to the recent reduction of operations in Erwin by CSX Transportation.
The Tennessee American Job Center – Erwin opened its doors to the public this week to serve workers from CSX that are without a job or unsure of what is ahead. The center is located in the East Tennessee State University extension office at 1413 North Main Ave., Suite C. The Center is being operated by the Alliance for Business & Training.
“The first step for this was meeting with members of the community Oct. 26 and 27,” AB&T Executive Director Kathy Pierce told The Erwin Record on Monday, Nov. 9. “About 200 employees that were affected by the decision came to Johnson City and were given surveys to get a better idea on the demographic and what we need to do to assist the area.”
Pierce said former CSX employees needing job assistance should visit the Center and fill out a survey.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce is working with the Center. The potential of additional funding to assist workers could be made available if services are used, Pierce said.
“We’ve worked closely with all the mayors,” she added. “Mayor (Greg) Lynch, Mayor (Doris) Hensley and Mayor Johnny Lynch understand the community needs. The local educational system, Mr. (John) English and Dr. (Chris) Bogart have been a huge help, along with Northeast State Community College and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT).”
The Center will serve the community at the ETSU extension office for the time being, but there is potential for expanding the facility, according to Pierce.
“I want to thank Tish Oldham and ETSU for making the space available for us to use,” she said. “For now, the site works for us, but we’ll look to see about the potential expansion of services.”
Pierce also said that a number of companies have been in contact with AB&T to express interest in hiring workers from CSX thanks to the employees’ backgrounds in welding, sheetrock and other professions.
The Center will offer a variety of different services, including a job fair to connect the workers with different industries, skills training education, resume building and other items.
“The community has been wonderful to work with,” Pierce said.
The center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, call 735-5773.