WORCESTER — The state and city are mapping plans to help workers who will lose their jobs in the shutdown of Sam’s Club on Tobias Boland Way.
On Thursday, Walmart confirmed that the Worcester Sam's Club is one of the 60-plus stores to close for good by the end of the month.
City Chief Development Officer Michael E. Traynor said Friday the state has already reached out to the city to deploy a Rapid Response Team that guides laid off employees.
Mr. Traynor said the city has agreed to let the team use the city Workforce Central Career Center at 340 Main St. to help employees. It’s not immediately clear how many people might lose their jobs; the company did not return a request for comment Friday morning.
A Walmart spokesperson Thursday said the store will close later this month; a sign at the pharmacy Thursday said the pharmacy would close Jan. 26.
Walmart announced the closure – one of 63 such Sam’s Club closures across the country – Thursday, the same day it announced pay raises for many employees. Sam's Club is part of Walmart.
The company Thursday said it will help displaced associates “find their next opportunity, whether it is with Sam’s Club or somewhere else.”
According to the Sam’s Club website – which has already removed Worcester from its locator map – the closest store is in more than 50 miles away in Hudson, New Hampshire.
Mr. Traynor said the news was a surprise to him.
“Certainly you hate to see people lose their jobs, so hopefully we can be of assistance to as many people as we can to help them find employment quickly,” he said.
Mr. Traynor said that in addition to in-the-works programming from the state team in Worcester, the Career Center will be open to assist people looking to find work.
The center, run by the city in partnership with the state department of Career Services, offers seminars to employees, job leads, career planning and training, resume help and other services. It also seeks to link prospective employees with employers.
Westboro-based competitor BJ’s Wholesale Club issued a news release Thursday urging laid-off Sam's Club employees to apply at its stores.
Mr. Traynor said he does not know what might happen with the Sam’s Club building at 1 Tobias Boland Way. But he said that, at more than 130,000 square feet and about seven years old, it should be a desirable spot for somebody.
The city has assessed the building at $15.5 million. It is owned by RK Centers, a privately held real estate company that holds shopping centers in New England and Florida.
The company Friday said the employee who could speak to the Sam’s Club building was not in the office.
Walmart said Thursday up to 12 of its locations would be converted to distribution centers to handle online orders. Mr. Traynor said he had not heard of any plans for that in Worcester.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.