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State to help OLBH employees

RUSELL, Ky.  — The state of Kentucky is sending help for the employees facing job loss at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital by the end of September.

The Kentucky Career Centers of the TENCO Workforce Area have deployed a rapid response team to assist the 1,226 displaced workers with transition services and job-search resources.

Jeremy Faulkner, the director of Business Services and Economic Development Initiatives for the TENCO Workforce Innovation Board, said that TENCO has been in communication with OLBH leadership since the 214-bed hospital announced its closure in January.

Faulkner said that TENCO has begun planning group employee meetings in coordination with OLBH leadership to educate those affected on their services, programs and monies available to dislocated workers. TENCO’s Ashland office is located at 1844 Carter Ave., Ashland, Ky., and is available for OLBH employees Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Those in need of information are urged to call (606) 920-2024. For those unable to access the Carter Avenue office location, TENCO will soon be onsite at OLBH. TENCO is still discussing with OLBH leadership when those trainings will be held.

Faulkner said that TENCO is also working with other regional healthcare organizations to find OLBH employee’s new positions.

“TENCO is helping coordinate networking events and job fairs with these regional healthcare companies,” said Faulkner. “Already, dozens have been held and hundreds, if not north of 1,000 interviews have been conducted, and hundreds of job offers extended.”

Faulkner said that TENCO has services that will assist every employee affected.

TENCO will assist OLBH employees with filing unemployment insurance claims, educate those affected about re-training options, provide information on job-seeking for those who haven’t applied for a job in some time, interviewing skills, online job-searching, and updating their resume.

“We want to try to coordinate with everyone, regardless of what their situation may be, to see what’s going to be most appropriate for them.,” said Faulkner.

Faulkner said that staff with TENCO will work with individuals who won’t be remaining in healthcare, such as those retraining for a new career, or exiting the workforce completely, to find appropriate resources.

“We are here to try and help,” said Faulkner. “We don’t have all the answers, but we do have resources, we have a network of agencies and organizations that want to help. We will be onsite soon, but until then we encourage people to reach out to us on our website and social media.”

OLBH was built in 1953 by Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, with 92 beds and 44 bassinets. Since then it has grown into 214-bed hospital with a 1,200 member staff.

Bon Secours bought the hospital in 2000, after the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System disbanded. In 2018, the Maryland-based Bon Secours Health System merged with the Cincinnati-based Mercy Health.

OLBH’s Warn Notice to the Kentucky Dislocated Workers’ Unit, dated, Feb. 12, states that the hospital, and Bellefonte Physician Services LLC, will permanently close its entire operations in Ashland and surrounding areas as of March 31. Layoffs associated with this closure are expected to begin on March 31. The schedule of layoffs will continue through April 14. Additional sites impacted by the closure include Ironton Primary Care, BPC Ironton and Ironton Urgent Care.

Those wishing to learn more about TENCO workforce development services can visit them online at https://tencocareercenter.com/ or Facebook.com/kentuckycareercentertenco.

For additional information on the WARN Notice, employees are urged to contact Carolyn Stevens, HR Director, at 606-833-3484 or  Carolyn_Stevens@bshsi.org.