Amber Waves--June 2004--Volume 2, Issue 3 - Download as PDF by RMA


									                                                                                                                                                               RU R A L A M E R I C A

                    F I N D I N G S

                                     Responding to Rural Job Loss: The Virginia Example
                           Plant closings in the textile and                                                                                   based organizations to provide emergency
                     apparel industries have resulted in a                                                                                     food assistance and other services.
                     loss of more than a third of all U.S. jobs                                                                                      An ERS-funded study of the Virginia
                     in those industries since August 2000.                                                                                    initiative found that the CERCs helped
                     Because these jobs are disproportionate-                                                                                  customers obtain information about a
                     ly located in nonmetro counties, the                                                                                      variety of services more conveniently.
                     closings have had a major impact on                                                                                       The CERCs also improved communication
                     rural areas. In response to large local job                                                                               among partnering agencies and strength-
                     losses in rural communities, the                                                                                          ened ties among community service
                     Commonwealth of Virginia established                                                                                      providers. This cooperation led to

                     Coordinated Economic Relief Centers                                                                                       improved service delivery in the commu-
                     (CERCs) in early 2002 to provide dislo-                                                                                   nity, which resulted in low-income cus-
                     cated workers and other low-income                                                                                        tomers who were better informed about
                     residents access to a broad range of pro-                                                                                 available employment services.
 VO L U M E 2

                     grams and services in one location.                                                                                             Operating the CERCs increased staff
                           Nonmetro counties of Southside                                                                                      workload and strained the resources of the
                     Virginia, bordering North Carolina, were                                                                                  partnering agencies and organizations
                     particularly hard hit by plant closings                                                                                   significantly. Office space was also insuffi-
10                   due to the concentration of textile,                                                                                      cient. Service integration among agencies
                     apparel, and furniture plants in the                                                                                      was limited due to the short setup time for

                     area. The Martinsville area, with a pop-                                                                                  opening CERCs. With Federal encourage-
                     ulation of 93,000, lost 9,000 jobs over                                                                                   ment for States to co-locate services, the
                     1999-2002. Pillowtex, a towel-manufac-                                                                                    Virginia CERC experience helps in under-
                     turing plant in Henry County,                                                                                             standing the difficulties involved. Despite
                     announced that it was going out of busi-                                                                                  implementation challenges, the Virginia
                     ness in 2003, thus eliminating an esti-                                                                                   CERCs illustrate a useful strategy to help
                     mated 1,000 additional jobs in the area.                                                                                  States respond to large job losses in rural
                           Operated      by    the     Virginia                                                                                communities.
                     Employment Commis-                             Monica Hylton, Virginia Employment Commission

                     sion and based on                                                                                                                            Karen Hamrick,
                                                    Coordinated Economic Relief Centers: Locations and service areas in Virginia
                     the Federal Emergency                                                                                                              
                     Management Agency’s            CERC location             Service area                 Population         Job loss from plant closings        This article is drawn
                     model of a single point
                                                    Marion                   Smyth County                    33,081           2,380 over 1998-2002                from . . .
                     of contact for natural
                     disasters, CERCs provide       Martinsville             Martinsville City               57,930                                               Using One-Stops To
                     a one-stop location for
                     assistance in rural coun-
                                                                             Patrick County
                                                                             Henry County
                                                                                                             19,407}          9,000 over 1999-2002                Promote Access to Work
                                                                                                                                                                  Supports—Lessons From
                     ties. Employment coun-         South Boston             Halifax County                  37,355           2,000 over 1999-2002                Virginia’s Coordinated
                     seling and training are                                                                                                                      Economic Relief Centers:
                                                    Clarksville              Mecklenburg County              32,380           1,400 over 2001-2002
                     the primary services                                                                                                                         Final Report, by Diane
                                                    Source: Population is from 2000 Census of Population; job loss is from the Virginia Employment Commission.
                     provided at the CERCs,                                                                                                                       Paulsell and Melissa
                     but social services,                                                                                                                         Ford, ERS project repre-
                     health/mental health services, child support enforcement, and sentative: Karen S. Hamrick, E-FAN-03-010, USDA/ERS, November 2003,
                     emergency assistance are also available. CERCs have partnered with available at:
                     community colleges, and also with nonprofit organizations such as faith-

                                                                                                                                 E C O N O M I C R E S E A R C H S E RV I C E / U S DA

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