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The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported recently that 45 states have experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all decreases.The states with the largest statistically significant job losses were California, 744,000; Florida, 417,500; Michigan, 302,800; Illinois, 273,500; and Ohio, 262,100. California recorded the highest number of initial claims filed due to mass layoff events in April with 43,675.  The states with the next highest number of mass layoff initial claims were New York, 24,349; Illinois, 17,550; and Pennsylvania, 15,378.In Santa Rosa, we've all heard about or have been affected by the layoffs recently, with more than 450 employees laid off between Medtronic and Agilent, Santa Rosa's two major employers. If displaced workers can't find work locally, a mass departure of talent will negatively impact our economic vitality.   I feel we need to rally as a community to start coordinating an effort to keep the displaced workers in the North Bay. If workers leave, it will put more homes up for sale in an already depressed market, and there will be fewer students in the schools, fewer patients for the hospitals, less people buying local products leading to less sales tax, etc.To be pro-active, I created a new talent mapping program - a Job Angel Network - formally called the HR Matrix Talent Network. It would be a shame to lose talent to other areas if we aren't able to place displaced employees in jobs within our community. Part of economic vitality of a community is to attract and retain talent.Displaced workers can add their resume to the HR Matrix Talent Network at http://thehrmatrix.jobscore.com.Employees that find themselves out of a job will be initially devastated by the loss of their job. During the first two weeks after a layoff, I'd suggest taking advantage of the time off while you re-evaluate your next career move. Even though a job loss is devastating, people should see this as an opportunity to refocus and recharge before they jump into their next position. Take advantage of hiking in Annadel Park at 10 a.m. on a weekday, or take a trip somewhere with the family. It's not very often we are granted time off. There are several options for displaced workers to consider:-- Start your own business. If you've always wanted to start a business, this may be your opportunity. To explore this option, talk with an adviser to determine if you have a viable idea.In the meantime, you can still apply for jobs in the event it doesn't work out. Local resources include the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce EPP program, Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster and the SBDC.If you have an invention or an idea that can be patented, explore the idea with the Sawyer Center before putting all your eggs in one basket. The key is making sure you have a viable business idea before you put too much effort or money into it.-- Re-invent yourself. This may be the perfect opportunity to start a new career or work in a profession related to a passion or hobby.Read the book, "Do What You Love and the Money will Follow." While you are looking for a career in your usual profession, you can start up or get involved in a hobby business. It can be something you do on the side once you find employment - or if it's wildly successful, you don't have to search for a job anymore.-- Expand your career options. This is the time to expand your career horizon. For example, you may have been a software programmer for most of your career, but you have excellent project management or supervisory skills.Apply for jobs and network with people and companies outside of your typical network. This may be an opportunity to do something new and exciting.-- Volunteer.  Take advantage of the time off and volunteer in between your job search. Pick a charity or program that you have a passion for and volunteer. For example, if you're a great swimmer and you've always wanted to give back - start teaching swimming lessons or start up a Masters group at the local YMCA or other club. Offer your professional services to nonprofits that can't afford to hire someone with your talent and skills.-- Start consulting. If you have a skill that other companies need, call the companies and let them know you are available. This is especially helpful to local start-ups that may only need some interim help on a project or temporary basis. For example, they may need some help with R&D, interim executive level support or just advice and consultation on a project that you have expertise in.-- Network to find a job. The key to finding a job is to network. Don't rely on advertisements. For the right talent, companies may even create a job if they need your skills to get them to the next level or get them into a new market.-- Hire a career coach. If you want to get ahead of the competition, you may want to hire a career coach or someone that can help you develop a job search action plan, develop an effective resume and coach you on networking and interviewing skills.During this time, take advantage of the time off, set up a strategic job search plan and stay positive. And, know that there are plenty of people that want to help you - you just need to tap into the right resources and take advantage of the opportunity.                      •••  Brenda Gilchrist is the co-founder and principal HR consultant for The HR Matrix LLC. Ms. Gilchrist is one of the top HR experts in Northern California including being an expert witness, speaker and has published several articles on employment matters. The corporate office is located in Santa Rosa, 707-526-0877 or www.thehrmatrix.com