On the Job: The New NCWorks Career Center
On the Job: the New NCWorks Career Center
Up until last September, Cabarrus County residents who found themselves unemployed had to visit the Employment Security Commission on Kannapolis Highway in Concord.
The experience of walking into this dark, seemingly unfriendly building did little but add to the depressing feeling of being out of work in the first place. Sure, the staff was there to aid in commencing unemployment insurance payments and offering classes in workforce re-entry, but it didn’t empower.
Well, a new day has dawned. On September 14, Cabarrus County’s NCWorks Career Center opened its doors at 845 Church Street N. Notice the name change. Upon entry, one will also notice an all-new staff led by Gary Mason.
“We moved so that we could be in a more centrally located facility,” he says. “We wanted an open floor plan, with windows, new technology. Also, we were in a stand-alone building but we would like the services we offer to be completely integrated in the community.”
At a ribbon cutting in October, Mason was joined by – among others – representatives from the Centralina Workforce Development Board (WDB). The board is comprised of professionals from all facets of business and representing each county. It also oversees the operations of the NCWorks Career Center. There are currently eight Career Centers in our region.
According to the WDB, “The primary goal of the Centralina Workforce Development Board is to ensure that all job seekers in the Centralina region secure and retain a stable, high-paying job…jobs with benefits; if trained, a new job; sound information on the labor market; information on job openings; assistance on how to search for jobs; and access to occupational skills/education/training and other resources.”
Probably one of the biggest changes for job seekers is technology. Gone are the days of being called to a cubicle to interview with a staff member. Interviews are no longer required and unemployment insurance claims are done online now, although Mason points out that his staff can guide new customers through the process. Logging on to the Division of Employment Security’s website at desncc.com will take you through the appropriate steps.
The Centralina WDB’s new website – centralinaworks.com – has been designed with the user in mind. It offers information to both employers and job seekers, including a database of potential jobs; an interactive map with contact information, addresses and partner websites; regional and county facts; labor market data; community resources; and employment publications.
“Users will have access to real-time information,” Asia Wilson, Centralina WDB communications specialist, says. “This is a cutting-edge Internet site that offers a single online point of reference for workforce related news, content and events across the region.“
In addition, the NCWorks Career Centers provide numerous free services to job seekers (see sidebar). And Mason is happy to tout the new center’s amenities. “We now have five flat-screen TVs throughout the building that simultaneously show our upcoming job fairs, training opportunities, workshops, etc. We now offer sign-in through our iPad. We have windows throughout the facility, which give great natural light. We had no natural light, flat-screen TV or iPad sign-in at our old facility.
“The TVs allow customers to see what’s happening at a glance. The new facility itself allows our customers to feel great looking for a new career,” he adds.
Those looking for work aren’t the only ones to benefit from the new facility. “Employers can utilize our center for hiring needs, we offer interview space for groups or offices for one-on-one,” Mason explains. “Also, employers can refer candidates to workshops such as resume´ writing and to take a look at our training opportunities.
“Our goal for potential employers is to find qualified employees quickly, in a cost-efficient manner,” he adds. “We help companies filter out unqualified candidates, and assist with getting future candidates certified and job-ready and job-skilled. We assist with screening for work ethic and interpersonal skills, are a single point of contact with agencies, with good service and timely follow-up.”
To benefit most from the NCWorks Career Center, visit ncworks.gov and set up a profile. Registration is free.
As for the old Employment Security Commission building, Mason says the Department of Transportation has claimed the property as eminent domain. They plan to purchase the land and tear down the building.