What are the job prospects for laid-off IBMers? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

What are the job prospects for laid-off IBMers?

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A day after large layoffs at IBM-- one of the state's biggest employers-- it's still unclear how many Vermonters lost their jobs with the tech giant.

The Vermont Department of Labor is scaling up to offer services to the newly unemployed.

"The quicker people make connections to services, the more likely they will be able to get back, successfully employed," Vt. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said.

Noonan says similar jobs are available throughout the state.

But job seekers can expect to receive lower pay and may need to leave Chittenden County to find work.

Those laid off by IBM in the past construct a gloomier outlook.

"If you like your job three to four days out of the week, you've got yourself a good job," said Robert Blair, a former IBM employee.

After 23 years with the company, Blair thought he had that job. But 10 years ago he lost it during a similar round of layoffs at IBM. He struggled to afford his Fairfax home without the $50,000-a-year income he had grown accustomed to, relying on savings to get by over the three years it took him to find a new job.

Blair says many employers don't consider former IBMers, assuming they'll demand higher pay. But he says the newly-unemployed can't let that get them down.

"Keep planning, plan for the worst, pray for the best, and just don't give up," Blair advised.

"We currently have about 15 positions open. However, if we find good candidates we're willing to hire them and fit them in as we are a growing business," said Shannon Zimmerman of G.S. Precision, Inc.

G.S. Precision in Brattleboro manufactures airplane components. Zimmerman says new employees generally receive starting wages of $10-$15 an hour, but says past experience is considered.

Moving across most of the state to rebuild a career is an option many former workers at the IBM plant will need to consider, as well.

We reached out to companies mentioned by the labor commissioner as potential landing spots for displaced workers. Spokespeople either denied our request for comment or did not return our messages. We did locate one military contractor in Chittenden that is hiring, but they only have two positions open. Husky out of Milton also has a potential 10-15 positions available.

Related Stories:

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Layoffs at IBM in Essex Junction

How IBM cuts could trigger other Vt. job losses

No word on IBM layoffs

Will IBM cut workers in Essex?

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