Charlottesville work-force centerto be one-stop shop for job seekers

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by Heather B. Hayes

A new Charlottesville work-force center is expected to serve as a model for the rest of the state. The center is designed to be a one-stop shop, gathering representatives from state and local agencies to serve job seekers and business customers.

“In many instances, people in the past have had to literally drive from one state agency to another to get all the services that they need and that can be daunting and discouraging,” explains Danny LeBlanc, the governor’s senior adviser on work-force development.

“Now, they can find everything they need at one place. This is important to our overall economic efforts, because we want to be able to use every tool available to us to ensure that our work force is job-ready and flexible and that we can meet the employment needs of existing and incoming businesses.”

The Charlottesville facility, opened in December, offers services from 14 organizations dealing with employment and work-force training, including the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, the Charlottesville Department of Social Services, JobCorps, Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Office of Veterans.Affairs.

The organizations will share costs and office resources. “The idea is that all of these programs will work together in a holistic environment and in more efficient ways so they can free up administrative dollars and direct them towards programs and training,” says LeBlanc.

The center also will offer programs to the general public, including GED preparation and post-secondary classes, as well as instruction in résumé writing and financial management.
Eventually, 16 regions in Virginia will have similar work-force centers, an arrangement legislated by the federal Workforce Investment Act. 

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