McALLEN -- With budget cuts proposed by the state and federal government, Workforce Solutions has already began to feel the brunt of this effect. A reduction in program funds and workforce has become a reality rather than a possibility.

"Just like every other organization, whether public or private, the workforce system is not immune to budget reductions. The challenges the workforce system faces are numerous, from assisting our dislocated worker customers, to providing adequate services to our employers and job seekers, and maintaining the service delivery system," said Yvonne ‘Bonnie' Gonzalez, Workforce Solutions CEO. "Today, the challenge for us is to continue to deliver workforce services with fewer resources. Hence, we are being forced to make the difficult decisions of a reduction in force and a reduction in many of our programs, such as the GED."

"When we get caught in budget cuts, it makes it more challenging for us to meet the needs of our community with fewer resources," said Yvonne ‘Bonnie' Gonzalez, Workforce Solutions CEO. "Regretfully we are being forced to make some difficult decisions and now face a reduction in force and a reduction to some of our most critical programs, such as the GED Program."

That may be true, however, despite budget cuts Workforce Solutions has been actively working to secure a smooth transition for the affected staff and program customers.

"Over the course of the last couple of months our team has been evaluating and identifying ways that will allow us to provide the necessary support to affected staff as well as uninterrupted service to the affected program customers. I have said this before and I'll say it again, this is not only a local problem. Every workforce board in the state and nation is facing similar issues."

To date, 14 local non-profit organizations have been identified as potential referral GED providers and referral agreements have been established. Over the course of the next few days Workforce Solutions Career Counselors will meet one-on-one with GED program customers to assess their progress and review their individual employment plan.

Furthermore, affected staff have been counseled and offered several opportunities, from reapplying for a different job position to accepting a severance package, as well as registering for services they may find beneficial.

"We truly appreciate all of our customer and staff's resilience, patience and understanding as we work through the present funding environment we are facing. It is imperative that the community understand that despite the added challenges we are currently facing, Workforce Solutions is here and will continue to assist and provide a much needed service to employers and job seekers," said Mrs. Gonzalez. "We remain committed to our vision, mission and purpose to serving our community and encourage all eligible employers, workers and job seekers to continue to utilize our resources. If we determine we cannot help, we will find someone that can."

Workforce Solutions / Lower RGV is one of 28 local workforce development boards located throughout the state. This Board serves Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy counties through a network of partners in the tri-county region. The primary goal of Workforce Solutions / Lower RGV is to respond to the needs of employers, workers and job seekers, and provide the resources needed to succeed in an ever-changing world. All eligible employers, workers and job seekers are encouraged to take advantage of these services.