LA County looking to help 99 Cent Store employees

The LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion from Supervisor Janice Hahn to do all they can to help thousands of soon-to-be laid off workers from the 99 Cents Only Stores

"We've asked our Department of Economic Opportunity to launch a program immediately for the workers that are about to lose their jobs," Hahn stated.

When the chain decided to call it quits over money problems, Supervisor Hahn flashed back to a time not long ago when Farmer Johns in Vernon went under. That was 2,500 workers out of work and now with the 99 Cents Only stores, roughly 3,000 employees will lose their job. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 99 Cents Only stores permanently closing

"Short term, we're going to help people with their benefits, with some healthcare coverage, with food stamps, and long term we're going to be involved with giving them job training," Hahn added.

That's what happened in the Farmer John situation. People who had worked in the meat packing plant were trained to work in things like food services. There were what Hahn likes to call "Good Job Fairs".

"So, they're all successful in better jobs. So, we think it's an opportunity for these 99 Cents work crews, who also don't make as much as they could give them free job training... upgrading their skills."

But, how is that done? Kelly LoBianco, who heads LA County's Department of Economic Opportunity, says they'll send in Rapid Response teams. And, as one of the agencies that will work with Hahn and the board, they will help laid off workers connect with a variety of benefits and possible jobs opportunities that match their skills.

"There are a bunch of jobs within the 99 Cents stores or infrastructure. You've got your cashiers. You've got your stock and warehousing folks. You have your drivers. You have your supervisors and managers. Those are a good fit for a lot of retail opportunities but also other warehousing opportunities," LoBianco said. 

There will be meetings as soon as Wednesday morning to figure out the logistics in this effort.

Visit the Department of Economic Opportunity for more information.