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January 17, 2013

Finding a new path

DUNCAN — A Rapid Response Team event held Tuesday answered many questions for workers laid off by Halliburton. It also seemed to provide hope for the diverse group, which ranged in age from 20-something males, to women and men in their late 50s or older. While many were wondering how they were going to cope with the change in their lives, they heard a message of hope from the representatives.

Among the representatives available to guide them was Susan Camp, director of Cameron University-Duncan.

“It really is the first day of the rest of your life. You are not isolated,” she told the group that attended the first meeting of the day. The event was held at the Jerry D. Morris Business Center at Red River Technology Center.

Before Camp stood up to speak, the group watched videos and listened to area representatives and leaders who had all encouraged them to begin thinking about what they would like to do.

Then Camp shared her story and told the group that her husband had worked for Halliburton for 14 years before he was also released from his job.

“Halliburton said bye-bye (to him), but if you’ve ever had a big dream, something you’ve wanted to do, don’t rule it out,” she said. “You are never too old, or too young, to go back to school or do something different.”

For Clint Miller and Ki Parker, school is on their calendar. Miller had already been going to school and working for Halliburton when he was laid off this week.

“They were paying for my school,” he said, noting that he plans to continue on to finish. Parker also plans to go back to school, however, others such as Chris Fowler were still wondering what they were going to do.

The event, led by Chris Moore, Duncan Workforce Center manager for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, also featured Lyle Roggow, president of Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF), which targets industry in Stephens County.

“These are trying times that you are going through,” he said. “We want to get you re-engaged in the workforce.”  He told them about a Facebook page created by DAEDF that contains local job listings posted by area companies.

Other representatives included Amieeann Vanek, unemployment representative for OESC; Archer McPhaul, deputy director of operations for Association of South Central Oklahoma Government (ASCOG); and Lisa Williams, adult and career coordinator for Red River Technology Center.

Tara Mullee, Halliburton’s public relations supervisor, told The Banner Tuesday that Halliburton had also worked with OESC to help their former employees understand what assistance would be available.

Mullee said standard severance packages were offered in accordance with Halliburton policies. Based on length of service, some employees were eligible for retirement.

“We are exploring all opportunities for retraining with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission,” Mullee said. “Halliburton is also providing outplacement assistance for impacted employees. If openings become available, all impacted workers are eligible to apply.”  

Normal work hours are not being reduced at Halliburton, Mullee said, noting that the test well expected to have a summer introduction will not cause any addition personnel to be added.

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