Employees at Thunder Bay's only Sears store will be forced to look for another job and officials with a regional employment agency say they are ready to provide staff with the necessary help to find their second career.
"Once we hear about a situation like Sears, we want to get involved as soon as possible so we can help people access the resources available to them," said Jeff Sampson, the director of employment programs at Northwest Employment Works.
In October, the struggling Canadian retailer got court approval to close and liquidate its remaining stores, which included the one located at the north end of Intercity Mall in Thunder Bay, Ont. The store had been an anchor tenant in the mall for decades.
Sampson said the Sears staff he's spoken to "are apprehensive and worried about job hunting," as many are long time employees who have been working for the company for decades.
Officials with Northwest Employment Works said about 150 people are employed by the Thunder Bay store.
"A very common concern would be what's in the job market for me? What type of job will be out there when it is time for me to start searching again? Will I find something like what I have now?" Sampson explained.
"Interviewing has changed, the Internet has changed things for a number of these people; they've been in their job for 15, 20 years, [and] there's a whole new process that would be unfamiliar to them 20 years ago."
Sampson added that the staff at the employment centre have programs to "bridge that gap." That's done by offering help with things like building a resume and tailoring it to one's skill set and job prospects.