Workers Laid Off From Lands' End Hear Their Options

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Lands' End laid off several hundred employees late last month. Today's meeting is the first of two designed to help them get back to work.

The meeting gave laid off workers the chance to ask questions of several local agencies.
One former employee says, "what happened isn't Lands' End culture."

What happened at the Dodgeville-based retailer left several hundred Lands' End employees without jobs.

"It's been a hard thing to deal with, and I'd been there 15 years," another former employee says.

On Friday, dozens of former co-workers joined state legislators and local agencies for a community meeting. Experts briefed workers on what's available.

State Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz says, "what we want to show is that we really do care, they're not alone ... that there are services out there that can make a difference and there are people who want to be there to help them."

Among those people is Kathy Wellington.
"My second bit of information ... drop in at local job center," she says.
Wellington says Lands' End laid off her 20 years ago at another factory.
She now helps others facing "life after layoff."
"There's retraining funds available ... the capability to brush up skills and move onto new position fairly quickly or even enter some training and go for a degree program," Wellington says.

Or research small business opportunities. Susie Rodger digitized logos for the apparel maker.

"It was an amazing job, best thing ever," Rodger says.
Rodger's now networking with local agencies. She wants to open her own business doing the same thing.

"I'd like to see us bring jobs back one logo at a time."

Another meeting for people laid off by Lands' End is expected within a couple of weeks. Employment experts recommend people watch the job center's website for more information. That website is www.jobcenter.org.


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