By MEGHAN DURBAK, Kokomo Tribune staff writer

When Delphi Corp.'s Electronics & Safety Division announced it was going to cut 600 salaried positions from its North American workforce, Jan Hendrix was worried, not just for the employees but the trickle-down effect in Howard County.

Most of those 600 cuts will come in its Kokomo operations, which have approximately 4,000 hourly and salaried employees.

"For every management job there are five others. It's the multiplier effect," the interim Kokomo Howard County Development Corp. president said. "The multiplier effect is going in a negative direction.

"When you have a management job, highly skilled, the company may be contracting services from smaller suppliers," she said. "The volume now goes down. The supplier relationships decrease. Then, you get into the consumer part of it - retailers and restaurants, dry cleaners - (there are) volumes of potential to go down. People make other choices about their incomes."

Not everything is gloom and doom. KHDC, the city of Kokomo and Indiana Department of Workforce Development are working to keep as many Delphi employees close to home and in the local labor and housing markets.

"People have a lot of options in front of them to explore. We're doing everything we can to help them move into their next phase here. We want to retain this intellectual capital in this community," she said.

Workforce Development spokesman Gary Abell said it will be setting up meetings with the affected workers. The workers are eligible for programs offered through Trade Act Assistance.

They could be eligible for additional income support, an additional 52 weeks of unemployment on top of the 26 weeks provided through the state and two years of income support should they choose additional schooling or a training program, Abell said. Workers 50 and older may be eligible for alternative trade assistance in the even they are hired for less than their previous salary.

He also said workforce development staff will be available to assist workers with resumés, interviewing skills and follow-up skills. Affected Delphi employees can place their resumés on the Indiana Career Connect Web site for potential employers to see.

"Our goal here is to help people transition from one job to the next without any gap in their employment status," Abell said.

Abell said employment is based on flexibility which may be difficult for some due to spousal employment or children in school.

"There are opportunities out there," he said. "It all depends on the individual."

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