County to help Beth Steel workers find new jobs

April 30, 2003|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County officials said yesterday that they will hire counselors and open a job-placement center to help displaced Bethlehem Steel Corp. workers.

Bethlehem's Sparrows Point plant will be downsized as part of a deal by rival International Steel Group Inc. to buy Bethlehem Steel.

It is unclear how many of the 3,300 workers at Sparrows Point will lose their jobs, but county officials said they will help all that they can.

"No matter what the number is that lose their jobs, it's going to have a significant impact on the individual, on the family and on the community," said Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.

The county's efforts will be financed with federal funds. It has hired seven counselors who have been trained to help Bethlehem employees. They will work from the Eastpoint Workforce Development Resource Center near Sparrows Point, helping workers file for unemployment insurance and answering questions about health benefits and job searches.

Beginning May 12, the county will offer daylong orientation sessions to help workers transition to new jobs. In addition, the Community College of Baltimore County's Dundalk campus will hold a series of seminars on topics including: surviving a layoff, money management, resume development, job interview skills and finding a job on the Internet.

The county is also preparing a written resource guide to help displaced workers.

Smith said many Bethlehem workers haven't had to look for a job in years.

"Some of these folks worked at Bethlehem right out of high school and they've probably never interviewed for another job," Smith said.

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