PJC implemented a reduction in force as well as retirement incentives, resulting in a net reduction of 46 positions at the end of the fiscal year in June. The reductions were due to losses in state funding as well as program closures and grant funding. More than half of these employees were custodial workers, and a few instructors were let go.
Cutbacks were made because funds, such as the recent federal stimulus package, are only short-term remedies, according to PJC administrators. To meet the budget, PJC must find ways to save money. PJC has avoided lay-offs in previous years, preferring to leave positions unfilled as employees leave. Since employees are one of PJC’s biggest expenses, these cuts had to be made.
Job performance was not a factor in the displacement of workers, Tammy Henderson, director of Human Resources, said. The cuts were mostly due to losses in funding, as well as two program closures, and the ending of one grant.
Decreased enrollment caused the closure of both the Fire Science program and the Dental Assisting program. Three faculty members were affected by this change.
Of the 46 positions, 25 were custodial staff. Still, eight of those were recalled through Keegan Staffing, a temporary employment agency. However, one custodial supervisor opted for retirement which opened up a slot for someone to remain employed.
The Early Learning Coalition, a one-year grant, ended in June and resulted in seven “non contract renewals.” Four of those six were re-employed outside of PJC by the agency funding the grant and another employee retired.
PJC’s displaced workers opting for the retirement incentive received up to three years of paid healthcare, as it had been during PJC employment, to age 65. They will also receive 100 percent of the sick-leave pay they had built up. A total of 22 employees participated in the incentive plan.
Some employees and their dependents were enrolled in classes at PJC at the time of their job loss. They will still receive tuition waivers for the continuation of their programs. If displaced workers wish to return to PJC, they are eligible for tuition deferment.
PJC President Dr. Ed Meadows agreed to defer any costs over what financial aid would pay for, saying it was “a good faith effort” on PJC’s part to help these people get back into the workforce.
With national unemployment rates at 9.1 percent, the words “job loss” can be overwhelming. Still, PJC is doing more than just letting employees go. The college is reassessing its needs as a whole.
“This is going to be an ongoing process to critique our needs and watch things like where student numbers are for enrollment in programs,” Henderson said.
“Each department with a vacant position has to justify why it needs to be refilled as-is to make sure we are staffed as needed and have critical positions filled, and to see if things can be restructured or reassigned to save money” Henderson said.