State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced today that the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is partnering with the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), Georgia Federation of Teachers (GFT), and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) to launch a statewide effort to provide assistance to thousands of laid-off administrators, teachers and other public education personnel.

“The Georgia Department of Labor is proud to partner with the leading advocates for public education in our state to support and assist educators and staff who are being laid off,” said Thurmond. “We will work closely with the leaders of these organizations to disseminate information regarding unemployment insurance and our re-employment services.”

Verdaillia Turner, GFT president, stated: “The Georgia Federation of Teachers supports smaller class sizes and the retention of all educators in their positions. However, some teachers will be laid off, that’s why we applaud and support Commissioner Thurmond’s efforts in helping to find employment for all displaced educators.”

"The Georgia Association of Educators is pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Labor to get valuable information regarding unemployment benefits and re-employment resources into the hands of our members who have lost their jobs,” said Sandy Schwellinger, GAE associate executive director. “So many talented and committed educators are being laid off — not because of poor performance — but solely because of budget cuts. These dedicated professionals need our help to weather this storm."

Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE executive director, added: "PAGE is very pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Labor to provide information and resources to educators and their families who have been hit very hard by the current economic crisis. We are very appreciative of the leadership demonstrated by Commissioner Thurmond and his staff in working with us to provide this timely and important information to those who are losing their jobs."

The GDOL and partner organizations will host a series of employment transition workshops at locations across the state. Laid-off workers will be briefed on how to file for unemployment insurance benefits and the wide-range of support, re-employment, training and career transition services available at the state and local level. The locations, dates and times are listed below:

• The Atlanta Marriott Century Center, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Atlanta Airport Marriott, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Marietta Campus, Chattahoochee Technical College, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Macon State College, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Albany, Hilton Garden Inn, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Paulding Campus, Chattahoochee Technical College, June 11-12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Dalton, N.W. Georgia Trade and Convention Center, June 11-12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Savannah Hyatt Regency, June 19 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Plans are also underway to establish permanent transition centers strategically located across the state to offer a comprehensive array of employment related information, resources and services. The department and partner agencies will help with securing employment, retooling skills or going back to school. State and federal financial resources are available for education, training, job search and related expenses.

Visit the GDOL Website for further information.