Transition Center helps unemployed find work

NORWALK Todd Sebolt could use some resume help. Even though he boasts nearly16 years
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Todd Sebolt could use some resume help.

Even though he boasts nearly16 years of press operatingexperience with Tenneco, Sebolt is rusty on the finer points of selling his talents.

Sebolt was laid off from Tenneco because the company is relocating its Milan plant to Mexico. So far the job hunt has not gone great.

Looking for an edge in the job market, Sebolt became one of the first customers at Norwalk's new Transition Center.

Opening in the wake of Norwalk Furniture's collapse, the Transition Center celebrated its grand opening Monday in downtown Norwalk, with Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in attendance. With nearly one in 10 people unemployed in Huron County, local and state officials are scrambling to help area residents find work.

"We're trying very hard to be accessible to as many folks as possible," said Teresa Alt, assistant director of Huron County Job and Family Services.

"We want people to know that it's not just for Norwalk Furniture. There's lots of folks out therewho've experienced a job loss recently."

Located at 28 E. Main St., the Transition Center boasts nine computers, several staff members and most of the resources of the Job Store. Staff members will help with resumes, cover letters and other job-hunting skills.

"This is for those folks who still think of Job and Family Services as the welfare department," Alt said. "Folks who have worked for 30 to 40 years, who still need to work, but they might feel their pride won't let them come to the Job Store because they don't know what it's about."

Fisher's visit to the Transition Center was a mixed blessing.

The good news was that Fisher was able to secure a $2 million loan for the approximately 12 anonymous investors for Norwalk Custom Order Furniture.

Through the Ohio Department of Development, Fisher also helped secure a $718,916 job creation tax credit for Norwalk Custom Order Furniture to create 260 new jobs in the Maple City.

The bad news is that about half of Norwalk Furniture's workforce will not find a home at the new company.

"As you know, this has sort of been a rollercoaster ride. At one point, we thought we had been able to save all the jobs. And then, unfortunately, the deal with some private investors fell through," Fisher said. "But thanks to the leadership of the mayor (and other city officials) ... we were able to work another deal with some, at this point, anonymous private investors, all of whom are people who care a (great) deal not just about this company, but this community."