How will displaced B&L workers be helped?

Posted at: 08/06/2013 11:15 PM
Updated at: 08/07/2013 8:30 AM
By: Lynette Adams

The sale is done. Valeant Pharmaceuticals has bought Bausch and Lomb and hundreds of local people are out of a job.

So now that layoffs have begun, what resources are out there to help displaced employees find a new job?

On Tuesday News10NBC learned help is coming all the way from Albany.

While losing your job may never be an easy thing to deal with, there is a lot of help for the local Bausch and Lomb workers, starting with help from Albany. But there is also a lot of support here in Rochester.

“We have a lot of work to do. This is not something we had advance notice on. We knew it was an eventuality, it would happen, but we are working hard right now,” said  Lt. Governor Bob Duffy.

Lt. Governor Bob Duffy says that work is two-fold. The first part is working to convince Valeant to stay and keep part, if not all, of its workforce. Duffy says the other part is helping people find jobs. Duffy says Governor Cuomo has deployed the Department of Labor's Rapid Response Team.

“It's not a definitive job offer. It's not a direct step, but what the Department of Labor does do is they have listings of all these job openings to try and create matches, try and create pairings,” said Lt. Governor Duffy.

He says the Rapid Response Team will work with every single person laid off, presenting new job opportunities, assessing skills and and even providing training. In the last two years, the state says this team has helped more than 15,000 workers statewide find new jobs. The Rochester Business Alliance will be working hand in had with the team.

“We at the RBA have already received inquiries from several companies in town that are interested in the backgrounds and the experience that some of these people have. So hopefully they'll be able access these employers and find additional employment,” said Sandy Parker, Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO.

Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, says Rochester has a history of absorbing job losses and it will do it this time. Peterson has been working behind the scenes since learning of the impending layoffs. He says he's asked Valeant to stagger the reductions to give the GRE and others time to help people find jobs. He says the GRE has also received inquiries about the workers.

“I'm not going to promise we'll be able to place all of those people, but certainly we're going to work very hard to make sure that those folks have a chance to look at opportunities that are available in this region and the quicker we do that the more we'll have success,” said Peterson.

Peterson says the biggest challenge will be finding jobs for everyone. He says the reality is that some very valuable talent will leave Rochester for opportunities elsewhere.

You can expect to see some customized job fairs in the coming weeks.