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Business/Money

April 17, 2012

WorkOne shows off New Albany facility

Organization helped 1,000 people find work in 2011

NEW ALBANY — It’s not about where you’ve been, but where you are going.

Or maybe WorkOne says it best: “Start Here. Go Anywhere.”

“We think we have the technology here to help people get anywhere,” said Ed Carpenter, WorkOne Region 10 chair.

And those seeking a job or training for a different or better job now have a state-of-the-art facility to get that training. On Tuesday morning, the WorkOne center in New Albany, at 2125 State St., was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours for members of the community.

The New Albany WorkOne office moved from its old facility off Grant Line Road — which was cut up — to the State Street location in July. However, it’s taken time to get the office properly equipped and fully functional, according to Ron McKulick, executive director of the WorkOne Region 10 board. The New Albany location has about 35 employees.

McKulick said in 2011, staff at WorkOne Region 10 offices, which total six, helped 1,000 people gain employment. He said more were able to use the services offered to find their own employment. Region 10  covers Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties. In the past six months, 54,698 customers visited WorkOne facilities, which averages more than 6,800 a month.

“We’ve made a quantum leap,” McKulick said. “More than anything, it has helped us to overcome the perception of being an unemployment office.”

While unemployment benefits can be applied for at WorkOne facilities, that is only a fraction of what is available at the New Albany location. More than 650 people gained computer-basics or Microsoft Office certifications last year and job seekers can take advantage of 13 core workshops anytime at the facility. There is also a Career Launch program which assists young adults, ages 18-25, gain workplace skills in six competency areas. Also, several companies hold seminars or recruitment events at WorkOne.

“One of our jobs is to develop talent,” McKulick said. “Part of that is we have to help people gain a post-secondary degree or certificate; to help them become employable. It’s a significant challenge, but an incredible opportunity.”

Several dignitaries attended the event, including Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Mark Everson and New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan.

Gahan said the new-and-improved New Albany facility will be able to help more people find employment.

Everson, who will be leaving as commissioner next month, praised the work of Region 10 for helping adults complete a General Education Diploma. GED classes are offered at various locations in the Region 10 counties.

“That helps fill those jobs posted out front,” Everson said.

While the New Albany facility is new and more modern, it’s what it has inside that matters, McKulick said. There is a testing room with 15 computers and learning labs with 57 computer stations. There are also interview rooms as well as a large conference room.

“We are having one or two employers a week come here and do recruiting events. We didn’t have the space to do that at our old facility,” Carpenter said.

“We recognized we needed to improve what we were doing in our region,” said Region 10 Commissioner James Goldman. “We just don’t train people but connect people with employers. I think we have accomplished that.”

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