Digital Domain layoffs: Alberts family copes after moving for a job that disappeared

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Yesterday was surreal. Today just hurts. The reality has set in for wife and husband Erin and Aaron Alberts.

 "I've slept five hours in two or three days," said Aaron.

They drove straight from New Hampshire for Erin's new job making $46,000 as an account assistant at Port St. Lucie's Digital Domain headquarters.

They uprooted Sadie, Asher and Liam, their whole life, for a new start. But there was a cruel twist.

Erin's excitement turned to horror when she found out the job had disintegrated before it even started.

She learned Friday morning about 280 of her almost-colleagues had lost their jobs, as Digital Domain's animation studio in Port St. Lucie closed its doors.

For the Alberts, the dream was simply a mirage, but it was too late to turn back.

"I just feel a lot of personal responsibility because we moved down here for a job for me," Erin said.

Today, the family only has about $200 to their name. Neither parent has jobs, despite extensive work experience with major media companies like MTV and Universal Pictures. Both have three vivacious, growing mouths to feed.

Aaron says he wants an apology from Digital Domain. He says it's wrong that the company didn't warn them.

Treasure Coast Food Bank Executive Director Judith Cruz says the Alberts aren't the only ones that are food insecure, since the layoffs. She wants all families affected by the Digital Domain layoffs to use the bank in Fort Pierce for groceries.

Cruz says her organization is treating the layoffs like a natural disaster. The bank is operating a call center most of Monday for ex-Digital Domain employees with questions that range from housing to meals. As for the Alberts, Erin and Aaron are job searching and wrapping their arms around each other through this crisis.

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