Job training agency in Petrolia closing

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The people who have helped hundreds of people in Petrolia and Central Lambton find work will soon be looking for jobs themselves.

Noeleen Tyczynski is the executive director of The WorkPlace Group, a not-for-profit business which provides employment services for the provincial government. Since 1997, the company has provided services in Petrolia with outreach to Forest, Watford and Corunna. Last week, Tyczynski received word the provincial government would not be renewing the $530,000 contract with The Workplace Group for services in Petrolia.

Tyczynski says the move stems back to 2010. “There was a complete overhaul of employment services for Ontario,” she says. “At that time, there were a number of programs funded by the federal government and a number funded by the province… at that time they said they would be take a look at the landscape,” she says adding it was about that time Lambton College opened a similar service on Oil Heritage Road.

“The decision from ministry (last week) was they feel the network has now matured at this point they would not be continuing services.”

Tyczynski says The Workplace Group helped 204 clients last year alone to find work, retrain or head back to school. “We feel the province was getting good value for the investment.”

The Petrolia office has stopped accepting new clients directing them instead to either the programs provided by Lambton College on Oil Heritage Road or to The Workplace Group’s Sarnia office.

Tyczynski expects the doors on the Petrolia office could close as soon as Dec. 31. Five people in the Petrolia office will lose their jobs. Other positions at the Sarnia office may be affected.

Tyczynski says it has been a difficult situation for staff. “When I look at the staff that will be affected, they are a very professional group of people, they are busy facilitating the change for the clients…so they are in the best hands,

“They are working so hard to help them move forward… they haven’t be focusing on themselves…they truly love working for the organization…do our best to take care of our clients and staff.”

Tyczynski says The Workplace Group is working hard to help the affected staff adding “we want to make sure we are supporting our staff as well.”