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      360 unemployed now given options as Workforce assists

      The closure of Convergys in Brownsville leaves 360 workers without a job and back in the unemployment pool.

      It TMs another hit to Cameron County's job market which still has over 16,000 people unemployed.

      Workforce Solutions stepped in to help the Convergys employees since they learned of the call centers closing in January.

      "We send in a team of rapid response personnel that start working with the soon to be laid off employees trying to get them other employment that we already have in our system," Pat Hobbs, Workforce Executive Director, said.

      According to Hobbs, Convergys closed after their contract in the Brownsville office wasn't renewed.

      Therefore, some of the employees were moved to the Convergys in Pharr but the rest were let go.

      Now, Workforce is helping those laid off get a new job or go back to school and get a degree.

      Hobbs says the Texas Workforce has certified all of those employees that worked in the Convergys in Brownsville qualified for the Trade Adjustment Act.

      Under the Trade Adjustment Act, the government will be paying for the tuition and fees for all of these employees if they choose to go back to school.

      "It could be the ticket, so to speak, for these Convergys workers," Hobbs said. "An opportunity to take advantage of the education that TMs allowed and pull themselves up and learn a skill."

      Hobbs says this is a rare opportunity that employees should take.

      "Education is the way out of a bad situation," Hobbs said.

      Especially since every year there are fewer jobs for those without a degree.

      "We do have a large part of our workforce that does not have a high school diploma," Hobbs said. "We are trying to fix that but it TMs difficult without an education you TMre going to have trouble getting and keeping a job."

      Action 4 did some research and found that the unemployment rate has decreased in Cameron County.