On Monday, Local 881UFCW will host a free training session for those working or looking to find employment in the retail industry.
The OSHA Health and Safety training will be held at the South Austin Coalition office, 5660 W. Madison St., at 6 p.m. and is open to all West Side residents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a government agency created to ensure the safety of workers on the job.
Kristen Ryan, a member of Local 881UFCW, will join forces with Elce Redmond of the South Austin Coalition to provide free education training and certificates for those who complete the session.
“It will be a one-hour OSHA training that will basically talk about preventing accidents in the retail industry,” Ryan said. “So many employers don’t take the time to train; instead they set employees in front of a video. This training will help prospective employees get a head start on training and provide them with another tool to put on their resume.”
Ryan said the response has been great, and she is expecting over 50 people to attend.
The training is essential for residents on the West Side, Redmond said, especially for those looking for work.
Ryan and Redmond say the “glory days” when manufacturing positions were plentiful are a thing of the past, and the workforce is more retail oriented now.
“In Austin, as with most communities, more large retail stores such as Wal-mart are coming in and having a job in the retail industry is a more viable form of employment in this type of community,” Ryan said. “Attending a free training sessions such as this will look appealing to prospective employers, and in this type of economy, any additional skills on a resume will help.”
Redmond said Austin residents are struggling to find work, and this type of opportunity could open doors for those who attend.
“We are really trying to get people who want to get a job in the retail industry a leg up,” he said. “Everyone in attendance will receive a certificate, and hopefully, it will make them more marketable when they are looking for employment.”
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Services, Chicago’s unemployment rate was 11.2 percent in May. Statewide, the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, down from 10.4 percent in June.
Greg Rivara, a spokesman for IDES, said the agency will be breaking down the recently released numbers over the next two weeks. He suspects the numbers in certain neighborhoods of Chicago will be much higher than the state’s unemployment rate.
For more information or to sign up, call 773-287-4570.