Sequester: Workforce Center prepared, calm

The Mesa County Workforce Center prepared a 10 percent cut — about $100,000 — to its budget in case the sequester went through.

The 10 percent figure is based on a guess about how high cuts may go, Center Director Sue Tuffin said, and to avoid scrambling if the center underestimated the impacts of sequestration.

Cuts won’t close the Workforce Center but they’re likely to affect the way the center does business. The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays but those hours may be shortened to save money. The Workforce Center has a presence in Fruita twice a week now but that may decrease to once a week. Staff may have to double-up on some duties.

Tuffin said she doesn’t anticipate staff layoffs, adding the center would impose furlough days or other measures before resorting to job cuts.

Workforce Center clients may be impacted by sequestration in the form of potential federal cuts to long-term unemployment benefits that stretch beyond the six months Colorado will fund. Also, Tuffin anticipates hiring opportunities may temporarily dry up, just as they did in December when employers were spooked by the so-called fiscal cliff.

No matter what happens, Tuffin said the center will do its best to keep helping people look for jobs.

“We’re not making this bigger than it really needs to be,” she said. “We serve so many thousands of people that it serves them far better to handle this in a calm manner.”

The Mesa County Workforce Center prepared a 10 percent cut — about $100,000 — to its budget in case the sequester went through.

The 10 percent figure is based on a guess about how high cuts may go, Center Director Sue Tuffin said, and to avoid scrambling if the center underestimated the impacts of sequestration.

Cuts won’t close the Workforce Center but they’re likely to affect the way the center does business. The center currently is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays but those hours may be to shortened to save money. The Workforce Center has a presence in Fruita twice a week now but that may decrease to once a week. Staff may have to double-up on some duties.

Tuffin said she doesn’t anticipate staff layoffs, adding the center would impose furlough days or other measures before resorting to job cuts.

Workforce Center clients may be impacted by sequestration in the form of potential federal cuts to long-term unemployment benefits that stretch beyond the six months Colorado will fund. Also, Tuffin anticipates hiring opportunities may temporarily dry up, just as they did in December when employers were spooked by the so-called fiscal cliff.

No matter what happens, Tuffin said the center will do its best to keep helping people look for jobs.

“We’re not making this bigger than it really needs to be,” she said. “We serve so many thousands of people that it serves them far better to handle this in a calm manner.”


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