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Take advantage of JobConnect

Thomas Fitzgerald

As mentioned in my previous article, Nevadaworks participates in the statewide employment system known as Nevada JobConnect.

The JobConnect system offers employers and individuals complimentary services of which most are unaware.

It is essential that northern Nevadans understand and utilize this system.

Business managers have pigeonholed employment services offered by state agencies with the popular myth that their primary function is simply to provide the unemployed with some kind of job to resume normal paychecks.

Further, many managers thought listing with a state agency might not supply the qualified applicant they sought.With this kind of reputation, many businesses avoided all but mandatory interaction with most governmental agencies.

Enter JobConnect.

In early 2002, the State of Nevada introduced a revamped system of employer and individual services and named it Nevada JobConnect.

This system was far more than a name change.

It was truly a systemic change in how critically needed services would be offered.

Gone was the old unemployment office.

(In fact, all unemployment claims are now handled via telephone.) Gone was the perceived attitude of “Don’t bug me, I can’t help.” Gone was the sterile look of government offices.

Gone was the perceived antibusiness bias.

In place was a seamless statewide one-stop system with 18 partners offering a full range of services to all businesses and individuals.

Attitudes changed to “How can we help you meet your needs now? What alternatives exist that benefit your business? Are you aware of all programs that are available in Nevada?” With 18 partners able to offer assistance through one system, overlaps were eliminated and coordination became the norm.

As part of this system change, a comprehensive center has been established at the Reno Town Mall.

Here, any company or individual can receive services in any aspect of employment without having to go to several different locations.

For the individual, there is a full resource center to check job openings, write resumes, fax applications to companies, and seek training to improve job skills.

For the employer, there are specially trained service representatives to help post job openings locally and nationally, coordinate skill assessments of potential applicants, arrange job interviews either on site or in the employer’s office, schedule training rooms for employer-specific needs, and research any incentive programs available to qualified employers.

All of these services are delivered at no charge to all participants.

Since early 2002, word of the rejuvenated system has spread.

It was apparent that the JobConnect center in Reno Town Mall needed to be expanded to meet growing demands.

In April 2003, the 10,000-square-foot, user-friendly facility re-opened to very enthusiastic response.

The 23-station resource center has all new computers and flat screens.

The computer training room has 12 stations for one-on-one training.

The conference room can seat 40 individuals and be reserved by businesses in advance.

All 18 partners’ programs have been integrated to maximize efficiency and business service representatives made the bureaucracy understandable.

The business office atmosphere eliminated sterile, stand-in-line images.

The revamped facility has been rediscovered by many businesses and individuals and customer service comments have been extremely positive.

With the continuing growth in the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area, it soon became apparent that the existing Sparks JobConnect office could not accommodate the influx of people seeking services.

As a result, a new facility at 1675 E.

Prater Way is scheduled to open this spring.

The center will be the second full-service office in the Truckee Meadows and will focus on helping individuals achieve skill improvements while offering additional services for employers.

By concentrating efforts in the two centers, everyone benefits from lower costs and more efficient use of staff and space thus utilizing our state and federal funds more effectively.

Nevadaworks, as the centers’ consortium manager, continues its role as an administrative agency coordinating workforce development in northern Nevada.

In short, the system has changed, the facilities have been improved, and the cost to users is zero.

What’s next? We need businesses to use the system and then spread the word.

The changes are real.

They are here to stay.

Government really can help! Are you using JobConnect or are you still complaining about federal agency problems that have already been solved? Do you have workforce needs that are unmet? If you are willing to move into the new system and have not participated in the new business-oriented JobConnect, call me (284-1340) and I will personally introduce you to some of the finest people willing to help your business the JobConnect staff.

For more information, visit http://www.nevadajobconnect.com.

Tom Fitzgerald is CEO of Nevadaworks, which coordinates workforce development in northern Nevada.

Local JobConnect offices Reno Reno Town Mall, second floor 4001 South Virginia St.

834-1970 Sparks (opening spring 2004) 1675 East Prater Way, Suite 103 336-5400 Carson City 1929 North Carson St.

684-0400