HANFORD LAYOFFS: Unemployed workers refuse to get help

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A year after the Hanford layoffs, KEPR is digging deeper into how laid off workers fared.

The news was fast and devastating: three thousand people were laid off from Hanford, with little prospect of finding new work.

"You think about food on the table and paying bills... it gets you a little stressed out," says Kelly Lovelett.

For Lovelett, the paperwork is extensive and the implications are huge. The laid-off Hanford worker has never been unemployed before. Facing an uncertain path, she turned to Worksource for help.

"If there are people who are willing to give you a hand in looking for a job, why not take advantage of it?" she asks.

Worksource would love to know the answer to that question. Even though Lovelett came to get help, KEPR learned few other laid-off Hanford workers have. This year, only 140 people laid off at the area have through these doors. That's less than five percent of those affected.

It's a case of too long, too late. Stricken by budget cuts, Worksource originally didn't have the money to handle all of Hanford's laid-off workers. So, organizers applied for a state grant. The money arrived nine months later. By that time, many unemployed workers had given up looking for work and possibly moved away.

Worksource received one million dollars to help only Hanford's workers. The grant will end in March. With an additional 300 people expected to lose jobs at Hanford later this year, Worksource is encouraging people to come in as soon as possible.