Just about anybody can benefit from instruction in money management,
most anytime. In a tough recession, people need it even more.
That’s why the Region 13 Worksource Oregon Board is getting set to
unveil “Financial Fitness” workshops in Union, Baker and Wallowa
In La Grande, the classes will be held 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 at the Oregon Employment Department building, 1901 Adams Ave.
In Baker City, sessions are planned 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 20 and Oct 22 at the Baker County Senior Center, 2810 1/2 Cedar St.
In Enterprise, the workshops will take place 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 at the employment office, 104 Litch St.
The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required.
Those wanting to attend the La Grande sessions should call 541-963-7111. The Baker City number is 541-523-6331. In Enterprise, call 541-426-4972.
Debbie Gargalis, who manages Oregon Employment Department offices in Union, Baker and and Wallowa Counties, said the October classes are for anyone who seeks more independence and better control of their finances.
But those who have lost jobs and are having trouble making the rent or house payments or paying other bills are especially encouraged to attend.
“Many people are nearing crisis,” Gargalis said. “Unemployment is running out for a lot of those who have been laid off. We’re looking at helping people plan the next steps.”
Nellie Hibbert, a Union County commissioner who serves on the board, agreed that the need for financial planning know-how is greater at this time.
“We have all read the articles about the recession,” Hibbert said. “There are people who are wondering right now how many months it will be before they are homeless.”
The Worksource board, consisting primarily of members from the private sector, provides local workforce stakeholders, including the Employment Department, with direction on community needs relating to employment.
The Training and Employment Consortium and Community Connection of Northeast Oregon — both private non-profit groups — recently were awarded federal stimulus money that could be used for financial planning workshops.
Terri Simonis and Margaret Davidson, respectively the executive directors of TEC and CCNO, began talking about classes, and were joined in the discussion by Deborah Beeson, manager of the
La Grande branch of Community Bank who serves as the Region 13 board chair.
From there, the board started putting the program together.“We realized there are a lot of people who need this information and better skills. When your budget goes down, you need a different skill set,” said Simonis.
The classes, taught by representatives from TEC and the employment department, will be broken into two segments.
The first part will provide general information about accessing credit reports, dealing with creditors, creating and following a budget and more.
In the second session people will learn how to apply the information to improve their own unique situations.
“There will be a day in between so people have to gather up what they will need,” Simonis said.
Though there’s a strong local need for the classes because of widespread layoffs and high unemployment, Gargalis stressed that anyone can benefit from the workshops.
“It’s always empowering to get hold of your finances,” she said.
In the current economic climate, even people who are employed need financial planning help, Simonis added.
“We see people with all kinds of income levels who are struggling right now,” she said.