Rhode Island: Fired 38 Studios staff are highly skilled, will find new work

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training director Charles Fogarty said today that the staff of 38 Studios, all of whom were laid off yesterday, will be able to find new jobs because they are "highly skilled."

"The individuals in question, most of them are pretty highly skilled," Fogarty said. "They've already been contacted by a number of employers. Our department has been contacted by folks looking for people with that type of skill."

Governor Lincoln Chafee and his team today held another press conference to address 38 Studios' financial situation, leading with the information that his office wasn't informed of the layoffs yesterday. Chafee held a press conference one hour after news of the firings broke yesterday; about 300 people in Rhode Island and almost 100 from Big Huge Games in Maryland lost their jobs.

Today, Fogarty said he didn't think it would be difficult for these former employees to find new work.

"I don't expect that they're going to be unemployed for all that length of time," he said. "So far there's only been a small number who've actually applied for unemployment benefits at this point."

Fogarty didn't say how many former 38 Studios employees had applied for unemployment. To allay concerns of the wider economic impact of supporting an influx of people on unemployment, Fogarty said the following: "Don't forget, a number of them are not Rhode Islanders. They worked here but they were not Rhode Islanders."

Of the unspecific number of people who filed for unemployment, about half were Rhode Islander residents, he said, responding to questions about the "jobs for Rhode Islanders" pitch that came with 38 Studios' founding.

Gov. Chafee doesn't think it's futile to attempt to find investors in 38 Studios, saying that when a studio is basically defunct and has no employees, "some might argue that that's the time for an investor to come in, when you can get it for pennies on the dollar, but we're still fairly pessimistic."

Unfortunately, even if an investor did jump in, Rhode Island would be the "pennies" part of that analogy, not the dollar.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.