Local career center among 34 to close

Local career center among 34 to close

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A statewide restructuring plan by the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development will permanently shut down 34 career centers, including the career centers in Union City and Dresden.
Friday’s announcement was made by Burns Phillips, acting commissioner of the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
“Thirty-four career centers will permanently suspend job services in order to continue job placement activities with fewer dollars,” a news release states.
The local career center is set up in Union City’s employment security office, which is located at 126 East Main St.
Dresden’s employment security office is located at 8714 Highway 22.
An official with the local employment security office told The Messenger today the Union City career center is staffed by two full-time workers and three hourly employees.
“As a part of the budget proposal presented by the governor and approved by the General Assembly, we do have a reduction in force planned,” Jeff Hentschel, communications director for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, told The Messenger.
Under the restructuring plan, Dyer County’s career center (in Dyersburg) will also serve Obion, Crockett, Gibson, Lake, Lauderdale and Tipton counties.
The career center in Carroll County (Huntingdon) will also serve Weakley, Benton and Henry counties.
The job service operations will be relocated at the end of June, according to Hentschel.
An indirect consequence of the restructuring plan is the local employment security office will likely have to relocate.
“Since  2004, career centers were operating at a deficit of more than $32 million and one-time federal funding was used to supplement the program,” according to a state news release. “When that funding ran out, the governor included $5 million of state funding in last year’s budget to give the department an opportunity to work on a plan to run the career centers efficiently and effectively move forward.”
The restructuring plan allows the state to “rightsize the program and continue services to all 95 counties,” according to Phillips.
Three main factors were used to determine “service relocations” — career center locations required by law, alignment with the governor’s jobs camps and the most effective use of remaining federal funds to serve as many Tennesseans as possible.
“The department carefully evaluated these issues to make sure Tennesseans continue to have convenient access to job services near their communities,” the news release states.
Once the restructuring plan is fully implemented, there will be 23 career centers statewide.
Tennessee’s career centers help those looking for work and they work with employers on recruiting and screening potential employees.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 4.22.13

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