WESTMINSTER — After four years as a laborer for a local home building company, Ellen Cutsail lost her job. The layoff meant the 31-year-old Union Bridge resident and mother of two needed retraining to find work again.
For help, she turned to the county's Job Training Partnership Act office.
Counselors at the office recommended that she take 18 weeks of clerical-skills classes at Carroll Community College. She did, and JTPApaid for them.
"The JTPA staff are 'people' people," Cutsail said. "They were interested in what we were doing and willing to help us.That made a big difference."
Since May, she has worked in the office at Shelter Systems Corp. of Maryland on Stone Chapel Road.
This week, JTPA offices around the country are marking Alumni Week. In Carroll, the JTPA staff is celebrating at an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at its new Career Center at 224 N. Center St.
The two-room center is on the second floor of the county's Multi-Service Community Center, a former elementary school.
People in Cutsail's situation will be able to come to the center for career planning workshops and other assistance, said Pamela A. Lindsay, job development coordinator.
JTPA works with other state and county agencies to provide educational and training programs for teens and adults. The agencies help keep teens in school and find them summer jobs, teach adults to read and assist them with finding a suitable career, writing resumes and preparing for job interviews, among other things.
Participants must meet certain income requirements, but others, such as disabled or homeless people, high school dropouts, teen parents, ex-convictsand laid-off workers also are eligible, said Sandi L. Myers, operations specialist.
"No one ever goes away without an answer," said administrator Diane Arbuthnot.
Among other agencies, JTPA works withthe county Board of Education and state Department of Social Services, Lindsay said.
JTPA, which receives about half its money from the federal government, spent about $647,000 in fiscal 1991, which ended June 30, Arbuthnot said.
Twenty-eight percent of the agency's money came from the state and 19 percent from the county, she said.
In the same period, the office worked with about 1,800 people officially and countless others unofficially, she said.
The recession haskept workers at JTPA busy. The office has a "Rapid Response Team" that visits industries that are about to close to tell workers about retraining and educational options, Myers said.
Laurie L. Millender,31, of Manchester, learned about JTPA programs when counselors visited Westminster Knit Corp., which closed in February. She had worked in the office at the clothing factory for 11 years and needed to learnhow to work on computers before finding another job.
"After 11 years, you get a little rusty," said Millender, who has two children.
She took three classes at CCC, and before she could finish the third, she had a job in the accounting department at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers in Hampstead.
Suzanne M. Stewart, human resources assistant at Jos. A. Bank, said the company has hired a number of workers trained through JTPA.
The workers are "a good match" for the company, she said.
James C. Threatte, director of the county Office of EconomicDevelopment which oversees JTPA, said some companies are attracted to the county because of the training programs available.
The county can't offer tax breaks to new companies, but it can offer up to $30,000 in training grants, he said.