About two-thousand Quad Cities workers will lose their jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal soon. While arsenal officials requested nearly one-million dollars for job placement help, career training and education counseling, about 400-thousand has been approved. Chuck Stewart, spokesman for Partners in Job Training, says part of the money will be used to conduct a survey to find out what displaced workers plan to do.
Stewart says many of the workers will simply retire, even though they’re still in their early 50s, but they’d like to continue working. Just because they retire, he says, doesn’t mean they won’t need the agency’s help. The arsenal’s I-Forces Center has two career counselors, computers with Internet access and a job announcement board that’s been filling up since December.
Cathy Weibel, with Iowa Workforce Development, says now’s a good time for displaced arsenal workers to assess their job skills. Weibel says many of the workers have good skills already and are well-qualified to look for new work now, though they’re encouraged to “update” their training when they can. Fred Smith is with the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command which is being moved from the Quad Cities to Michigan and Ohio. Smith says workers should get as much information as they can before deciding to move or stay.
Smith says I-Forces can give workers a host of outlets in other job opportunities with other companies or for other prospects like going back to school. After many hearings and deliberation, the arsenal job cuts were announced last year by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.