Even in the closing of the Petrolia office, Noeleen Tyczynski can find some positives.
The executive director of The WorkPlace Group was one of the people packing boxes this week as the office in downtown Petrolia closed.
The not-for profit company was contracted by the province to provide employment services in the area for the past 17 years. Last year alone 204 people found work through the Petrolia office. But the provincial government didn’t renew its $530,000 contract choosing to offer the services through Lambton College’s Employment Services Centre on Oil Heritage Road.
With almost half of the company’s income gone, Tyczynski made the tough choice in December to shut the Petrolia office. The staff of five kept the doors open to help existing clients for the first three months of 2014, but by March 14, the office was closed completely.
Tyczynski says all but one of the seven staff members affected by the closure have found other work.
And she says non-profit groups which had been using their space for free to provide programs in Petrolia, will not be hurt by the closure.
“We housed several agencies including financxial fitness credit counseling, the Sexual Assault Survival Center and the Family Counseling Centre …we provided a guest suite when staff needed to see clients. My concern was where were they going to see their clients so we connected with the Central Lambton Family Health Team and they were open to housing those organizations in their space again, pro bono, appreciating the challenges they have connecting in rural areas,” says Tyczynski.
“It will be a really wonderful fit for the community agencies because it brings a more holistic approach with health services and doctors…which those clients can benefit from.”
Tyczynski says other charities have also benefited from The Workplace Group’s loss as the company donated office equipment which wouldn’t be needed to charities.
Tyczynski says The Workplace Group will continue its work of training and job placement in Sarnia and some of the Petrolia clients may continue to use their services there.