Staff members in the Employment Services department in Human Resources meet with every employee who is being laid off as a result of state-mandated budget reductions at the university. And even though the initial meetings take place under pretty stressful circumstances, they bring more than just a sympathetic ear to the table.
“We want them to know right from the start that they have a lot of support,” says Kathy Lambert, who heads the department. “We’re going to help them get through this. They will land on their feet.”
The university offers a comprehensive package of benefits when jobs are eliminated, including severance pay, extended insurance coverage, assistance with employment searches, even networking and support groups
After the initial meeting, employees are invited to sit down with an employment consultant who helps them revise or create a resume, practice their interview techniques and begin planning their job search.
They also receive a detailed explanation of the benefits NC State provides employees who have been laid off as a result of a reduction in force:
- Severance pay based on years of service and age
- Re-employment priority for 12 months to state positions in agencies and universities
- Health insurance continuation for 12 months (if currently covered)
- Counseling services through the university’s employee assistance program
- Assistance with job searches, resumes, applications and practice interviews
- Meetings with a benefits consultant to discuss individual benefits and retirement options
- Classes on resume development, interviewing, effective networking and Web-based job searches
- Networking/support group meetings with other employees to share job-search tips and strategies
Lambert says the staff in Employment Services is working hard to provide valuable services and support in a difficult time. She notes with pride that NC State offers far more support than most private employers do.
“It’s not easy for the employees facing a job loss and it’s not easy for our staff,” she says. “But since we know we do so much good for them, that’s what helps us get through it.”
Research Specialist Jennifer Lowther, whose position in the genetics department was eliminated in March, found another job at the university shortly before the state of North Carolina placed a hiring freeze on many open positions through the end of the current fiscal year.
Lowther took advantage of many of the services offered through Employment Services, including assistance with her resume. And she attended several workshops, including classes on interviewing tips and networking.
Within weeks, she landed a job as a research specialist in the Department of Microbiology. The new job is a good fit for Lowther, who graduated with an undergraduate degree in microbiology from NC State in 2003.
“This job definitely matches with my background and I feel like I’m able to bring a lot more to the table,” she says.
While the situation was stressful for Lowther, she appreciates the assistance she received from the staff in Human Resources. “I’m very thankful for how incredibly supportive they were,” she says. “They were more than willing to help me.”