Laid-off workers at GMAC Residential Capital in Waterloo are getting some help with their next steps. You may recall earlier this month, some 40 employees, or about four percent of the company's Waterloo workforce, were given pink slips. The company is undergoing an ownership change after emerging from bankruptcy.
Now, area businesses and colleges are stepping forward to help workers let go at GMAC. Despite a rough year for job losses in the Cedar Valley, the local economy is looking strong, with plenty of opportunities to help get those employees back on their feet.
Nick Tovar is looking for a job for the first time in 12 years. Less than two weeks ago he and 40 other employees learned they'd be let go from GMAC.
"You were notified in the morning that you were going to be laid off, and basically for me personally, it is what it is. There's nothing really... you can't control what you can't control. So you move on, as I put it, to the next adventure in life," Tovar said.
Many had feared such layoff notices when Ocwen Financial won its bid to buy GMAC's Residential Capital holdings, since Ocwen has a history of shipping jobs overseas. But local officials are thankful the layoffs weren't worse at GMAC in Waterloo, and are working with the company to keep the more than 900 remaining employees on board.
"We'll be welcoming them to the community as a new Cedar Valley employer, and hopefully showing them the services that we can provide as well as kind of putting our excellent workforce on display to show them what great value they've acquired here," said Brittany Jungck with the Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.
But for those who've already gotten pink slips, there's some good news. Several local employers are looking to add staff with skills GMAC workers have: from financial experience to customer service.
"We're always looking for great people to work at Rydell's. We have a great force there, and so we just look to keep adding," said Shelly Jura, human resources manager for Rydell Chevrolet in Waterloo.
In fact, Cedar Valley employers have a total of a thousand open positions right now.
"The industry sector we're dealing with here with GMAC employees, it's one of our strongest industries here in the Cedar Valley. We consistently get high marks for customer service, and our employees our sought after across the region," said Jungck.
That makes GMAC employees like Nick Tovar optimistic they won't be out of work very long.
There is still some nervousness that more job losses could come when Ocwen Financial takes control this Friday, Feb. 1, but the Chamber & Alliance is working with Ocwen to help ensure as many local jobs as possible stay put.
If you're impacted by the GMAC layoffs and couldn't attend Monday's job fair, there's another big community-wide employment fair coming up. It's Feb. 28 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo from 2-7 p.m.
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