It's one of the saddest stories I've come across, and to think the nursing homes targeted for closure are from around here, that just makes this even more personal and poignant.

My 95-year-old mother resides in a nursing home, and I tried to imagine that she was one of the poor souls being forced out of her familiar environment. The emotional backlash would be significant, with leaving old friends behind and relocating to a place full of strangers. And what about the emotional well being of the staff? It takes a very special kind of person to choose a profession that cares for those nearing the end of their lives. Where are they going to find new employment, just like that?

Like one of those Marvel superheroes on the silver screen, James D. Oliveira, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater New Bedford Workforce Board, brightened up an overcast day when he appeared on MassHire Mondays, a segment on 1420 WBSM, featuring current companies in the area that are hiring, as well as all the job training and new courses available.

Oliveira said because of the fast-acting local staff at the Career Center, as soon as they heard of the nursing home crisis, they contacted Rapid Response, a federally mandated, pre-layoff service designed for companies and employees experiencing a layoff or closing. The Massachusetts Department of Career Services (MDCS) uses the Rapid Response team, who came to New Bedford with early intervention services and sat individually with every single employee discussing different employment options. From the janitors to the top administrators and everyone in between, Rapid Response helped make an appalling situation more productive.

I applaud the federally-mandated MDCS that has stepped in to assist our local workers with training and assistance programs that will help the staff members, facing unemployment, meet their expenses by finding a new job. I only wish the same kind of rapid response for the heartbroken patients.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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