Workforce initiative helps recently laid off employees in Roanoke

Job training, counseling, emergency financial assistance available

ROANOKE, Va. – Layoffs with Norfolk Southern, FreightCar America and General Electric have left hundreds of families in the Roanoke Valley without a stable source of income. Over the past couple of years, those layoffs left about 600 people unemployed.

Monday night, Virginia CareerWorks and the City of Roanoke held an information session about a new workforce initiative aimed at helping those who were furloughed to get back on track.

The Norfolk Southern Foundation donated $150,000 to help launch the new Stability & Empowerment Initiative. Using that money, CareerWorks and the city can help workers get job training, find a new career or even pay for their food, rent or utilities while they’re out of a job.

One former welder, Jonathan Sallee, who was laid off in November, said it’s been tough, but he’s looking forward to getting back on his feet.

“The community’s actually pulling together," said Sallee, a former FreightCar America welder. "They’re here for us. That somebody’s making an effort since the company’s not.”

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