San Jose provides help to laid-off NUMMI workers

March 26, 2010 7:03:53 PM PDT
While the soon to be closed NUMMI plant is located in Fremont, the 4,700 employees that are losing their jobs live throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley. According to the San Jose's Office of Economic Development, about 600 of those workers live in San Jose and at least 300 more San Jose residents will lose their jobs in the impact to NUMMI suppliers.

That is why the city is making sure local NUMMI employees have help available where they live and do not have to travel to the East Bay for job services.

The federally funded Work2Future program located on Parkmoor Avenue in San Jose is going to have a designated site for NUMMI and various supply workers.

"We're trying to make this as easy as we can on the employees so that the site that's closest to them can provide the full package of services, which includes job placement, job counseling and job training services," said Work2Future executive director Jeff Ruster.

Martin Hesketh is one of those laid-off NUMMI workers who lives in San Jose and appreciates the services close to home. He has spent the last six years at NUMMI as a team leader, team member and truck body welder. Friday he was at the Employment Development Office in Campbell. Hesketh says he did not want to let any time lapse before taking care of the paperwork involved in getting benefits and job training.

"A lot of times you get the runaround and saying, 'Oh you didn't sign up for this or you didn't do that.' I want to try to get with a specialist and get everything taken care of so there's no gap in my benefits," he said.

The San Jose region has a 12.1 percent unemployment rate. Hesketh knows there is a lot of competition out there for jobs, but is hopeful about his future. "I was a production manager in a machinery shop, I was a route driver for a uniform company, and I've been in management before."

There is no question Hesketh has the right attitude for this difficult transition. He was at the EDD today on this, his 39th birthday, ready to begin a new chapter in his life.