WILLACY COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — While Willacy County Commissioners hope to reopen the detention facility that was closed earlier this month. Workers are hoping to find new jobs.
Nearly 200 people lost their jobs when the Willacy county detention facility was shuttered. Former correction officer Nathan Robles worked there for nine years and explains how he is having a hard time getting back on his feet.
“It’s been kind of difficult trying to find a job since we’ve been laid off. I’ve been applying everywhere and haven’t really heard anything back,” said Robles.
The facility was run by the private company Management and Training Corporation. Last week, the company’s contract ended after President Biden ordered the Justice Department to phase out contracts with private prison operators like MTC.
“Us as the staff we’re thinking ‘oh it’s never going to close’. Then when President Biden signed that executive order for it to close, we were like let’s see if it really is going to happen then it really happened,” said Robles.
Miguel Gonzalez is the communications specialist for workforce solutions in Hidalgo county, he said they were able to help some staff at the detention center by providing rapid response services.
“These services help those who were laid off with unemployment insurance benefits. As well as, job search assistance. So we were happy to report that over 70 of the people affected by the closure were able to get some sort of assistance,” said Gonzalez.
Robles said he used to make a decent salary that provided for his 1-year-old daughter and his wife. However, they are trying to manage their money and cut back on expenses as they only have her income coming in their household right now.
However, he hopes he can get his old job back as the county continues to try to reopen the facility with assistance from the U.S. Marshals.
Gonzalez said workforce solutions offer free services and job searching for anyone who was laid off or is looking for a job they can call 956-928-5000.