CT Post. By Jordan Grice. April 24, 2019
The WorkPlace is ready to hit the road with its new mobile career center.
Dozens of people joined officials from the Bridgeport-based nonprofit Tuesday as they debuted the new American Job Center Career Coach. The new vehicle is an enhanced version of the original, which The WorkPlace launched in 2004.
“It will go to where people need our services the most and have the most to do to ensure that they have the American Dream,” said Joe Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace.
The Career Coach serves as a mobile talent resource lab, offering recruitment and workforce development opportunities to employers. Carbone said the program was intended to reach out to The WorkPlace’s growing client base in communities where the neediest live.
It offers residents in southwestern Connecticut employment, career preparation and computer training services, much like The Workplace and its partners at the American Job Centers in Bridgeport, Ansonia, Derby and Stamford.
Mobile training services also offer the opportunity for skill-advancement activities directly at work sites.
The original vehicle served more than 18,000 different people throughout its 20-town region, Carbone said.
The new Career Coach will continue to offer the same services with added features, like 10 computer workstations, an ADA-compliant lift, private interview space and more.
Investment in the $300,000 vehicle was made possible through an award from the State of Connecticut Nonprofit Grant Program, which provided $200,000 to the purchase. The remaining funds came from the state and national Departments of Labor, Carbone said.
The WorkPlace also collaborates with the business community, gaining financial backing from KeyBank and Avangrid to support programing for the vehicle.
The first Career Coach cost $240,000. With the added expense and the new bells and whistles, officials said they are expecting to enhance their coverage and services to other places of need like immigration centers and housing projects.
“If you’re looking for a job and you’re on unemployment, we want to do everything we can possibly do to get you that job and not allow people, through no fault of their own, to stay unemployed for longer than they should and that’s been successful,” said Kurt Westby, Commissioner of the Department of Labor.