Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-25-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 WOONSOCKET JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION WOONSOCKET – This time last year, Charise Wilson, owner of Workforce Ready Solutions, was launching her business from her home in Woonsocket. One year later, business is up, driven by a nearly 14 percent unemployment rate and widespread uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic. After an initial drop in March, Wilson said she's seen a flood of clients looking to streamline their resumes and brush up on inter- view skills. "While it's good for me, my busi- ness, it's hard to see people that are experiencing so much uncertainty," she said. Wilson, who spent nearly two decades working in career services in higher education before striking out on her own, said she's seen inter- est from all sectors of the market as job seekers try to plan their next move. For some, it's the next step after a layoff, while for others, it's an opportunity to get ahead amid the uncertainty they might not have a job in the fall. "A lot of the more creative indus- tries are a little more affected," she said. Wilson said she's worried about unskilled workers and thinks skilled laborers will bounce back quicker from the pandemic. One area she hasn't seen high demand is recruiting. While some companies, including in the technol- ogy and healthcare sectors, have seen a surge in demand, Wilson said many smaller companies are tak- ing a cautious approach. Seasonal companies that might have brought on 10 to 15 employees in another year, she said, are hiring fewer people, and some are waiting to see what their needs are as the economy reopens. Amid the uncertainty, Wilson is encouraging clients to tap into the hidden job market by network- ing, attending local meet-ups and strengthening their professional development. This current job cycle, she said, is going to be different, with new graduates and the newly unemployed likely to spend longer than the typical 8 to 12 weeks look- ing for a job. Wilson said she's also worried about people creating gaps in their resumes, especially in places like Woonsocket where many workers are earning minimum wage. With unemployed workers now receiving an extra $600 per week in benefits, she said, some people are reluctant to return to a job where they would be making less. But the short-term benefits could also hurt workers in the long run as potential employ- ers see lengthy gaps since their last employment. "That's a warning, if you ask me, to Woonsocket or northern Rhode Island residents," she said. "Don't delay, continue to pursue a job search even under these circum- stances." Career services provider sees business boom amid high unemployment By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM CHARISE WILSON, owner of Workforce Ready Solutions, said she's seen a surge in business amid high unemployment rates due to the coronavirus pandemic. Police investigate shooting as murder-suicide WOONSOCKET – Police are treating the incident as a suspected murder-suicide after two individu- als, 44-year-old Tanya Gagnon and 43-year-old Charles Johnson, were found dead in their Social Street apartment last Wednesday, June 17. Police believe Johnson shot Gagnon before turning the gun on himself. The two had been a couple for about three years and had lived in the apartment togeth- er since March. A cat was also found dead of a gunshot wound inside the apartment. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence said in a statement this is the fourth domestic violence homi- cide in the state this year. WOONSOCKET – City coun- cilors on Monday approved a new, three-year contract with the city's firefighter union nearly a year after the previous contract expired in 2019. The new contract includes 2 per- cent annual salary increases along with a 0.25 percent increase on the final day of the contract. According to a fiscal impact state- ment by city Finance Director Christine Chamberland, the new terms are expected to result in a $1,377,531 cost increase to the city over the three-year life of the con- tract, most of that in salary increases. The agreement between the city and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 732 is retroactive to July 1, 2019, and extends through June 30, 2022. Negotiations took place between the city and union leadership over the past year after the previous contract expired last June. In addition to salary increases, the contract introduces new ben- efits intended to reduce the amount of overtime in the department. According to the impact statement, the new benefits are expected to reduce overtime costs by $76,314 and result in a net savings to the city of about $41,000. Councilors initially expected to hold a public hearing on the new contract in March, but those plans were disrupted by COVID-19. With the council now meeting online, councilors held a virtual public hearing on June 9. The meeting adjourned after just five minutes with no members of the public speaking on the contract. New firefighters' contract includes 2 percent salary increases By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer Independently Owned & Operated by Getorge & Malanie Loya Free in-Home Consultation (401)356-4770 New Look Same Great Service Custom Draperies •Cellular & Faux Wood Blinds Shutters •Roman Shades •Top Treatments Woven Wood •Verticals & More Walid Saber, MD FACC, FSCAL, RPVI Chief of Cardiology - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School Ibrahim Elgabry, MD FACC Director of Cardiac Rehab - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School World Class Care . . . 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