Giant transition centre wraps up mandate
Proved useful in helping laid-off workers

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( Jun 02/00) - The Giant Mine Transition Centre is now finishing up its last month of operations.

The centre is adjacent to the Polar Bowl, and when it's quiet you can hear bowling balls crashing into pins through the walls.

Steve Petersen, vocation counsellor with the transition centre, said the program met its expectations.

"The centre did many good things," he said. "It provided a place for workers to gather and support each other. If someone heard of a job opening they passed it on.

"Overall we met workers where they're at. They came in here and sometimes bared their soul," said Petersen.

The centre was established in October 1999, when more than 200 workers were laid off at the bankrupt Giant mine.

For 19-year Giant mine worker Greg Bernard, the transition centre allowed him to brush up on his skills.

"It's been very useful. Through the centre I was able to get my Class 1 refreshment and B-Train training," he said.

Robert Worsley, manager of career development with the GNWT's Department of Education, Culture and Employment, said the centre served its purpose.

"It's been tremendously beneficial," he said. "It was a great initiative and it took a lot of pressure off our department.

"We were inundated with clients, but the transition centre helped us by being the first line of contact," he added.

According to Petersen, there's little more the centre can do.

"A lot of the guys have tapped into all their avenues, it's up to them now to find work," he said.

"Some of them have gone back to Giant, others have taken courses and gone other routes," he added.

Petersen said the transition centre will remain open until June 30.