Nicolet College Joins Agencies To Help Displaced Petco Workers

Doctors Foster and Smith in Rhinelander

(Photo courtesy of Josh Junig, WXPR)
Doctors Foster and Smith in Rhinelander (Photo courtesy of Josh Junig, WXPR)

RHINELANDER, WI (WSAU-WXPR) -- A local economic and development leader asks recently laid off Petco workers to consider all options.

Sandy Bishop is Executive Director For Economic and Community Development at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. She tells WXPR in Rhinelander that everyone in the community feels the loss of the 289 jobs at Drs. Foster and Smith. Petco announced Wednesday the closing of most of the facility.

She says there are options for the workers in this area. "We want the community to know Nicolet College is prepared for events like this. Unfortunately, we've been through this before, not so much in the recent past but going back more than 10 years when Twist Drill closure happened and so we have a blueprint, if you will, on how to handle this. Nicolet will be part of a multi-partner rapid response team."

She says the goal of that team is to provide all the resources and support for retraining, even providing a listening ear for laid-off workers. She says the effort will be among a number of community agencies and partners. "There is a dislocated worker program that is administered by our local workforce development board. That program has phenomenal resources including training and retraining dollars that eligible participants will have access to. I would like to send the message that people shouldn't make any quick decisions."

She says a key component is retraining to eligible participants at no cost, but there's a process that people will need to follow. She says at Nicolet they have more than 60 different training programs, many with short-term lengths. She says there are several late-start programs being offered in the spring, and programs 8-10 weeks long for people specifically affected by the closing.

She says more information is available through Nicolet College in Rhinelander.