Alaska's Department of Labor and Workforce Development will help Juneau Wal-Mart workers find new jobs when the store closes next month.
The department said Thursday that its Juneau Job Center is providing "rapid response assistance" for about 168 Wal-Mart employees who will lose their jobs at the Juneau store on or around Feb. 10, after the store is closed to the public on Feb. 5. This assistance will include a job fair for Wal-Mart workers on Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 10002 Glacier Highway.
Wal-Mart announced last week that it is closing 269 stores around the world, with 154 of those in the U.S. Company spokeswoman Delia Garcia said that about 180 employees work at the store in Juneau. Wal-Mart reported a more exact number to the state last week, saying that 168 people will be affected by the closure. Some employees will also be eligible for severance pay.
"Our job center staff are doing everything they can to help laid-off Wal-Mart employees find new jobs," said Heidi Drygas, commissioner of the Labor Department, in a news release.
Workers affected by the Wal-Mart closure can also stop by the job center any other time for one-on-one assistance, including unemployment insurance, career counseling, resume preparation and more.
Wal-Mart said in its news release last week that it hopes to transfer workers at stores within 10 miles of another Wal-Mart into other jobs, but there is no other Wal-Mart close to the Juneau store. The closest Wal-Mart is in Ketchikan, about 300 miles away, according to the company's website.
"We are helping associates identify transfer opportunities at other Alaska stores as well as other locations where Wal-Mart has stores," Garcia said. "It may be a particular challenge in Juneau because of its location."
For that reason, it's not clear how many people in Juneau will ultimately be laid off.