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Workforce developers to change

Local WorkSource Center to adapt proposal due to budget worries

Posted: December 2, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Expecting future funding cuts to WorkSource centers, the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board approved a series of reforms to ensure ongoing services are provided to the community.

During a meeting late last month, the Workforce Investment Board reviewed the proposed measures with center directors throughout the county, including Keri Aaver, director of the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center.

Based on recommendations from the California WorkForce Investment Board, the proposed changes are to take effect for the fiscal year 2014 beginning July 1, according to a report published by the L.A. County Workforce Investment Board.

The nine changes proposed are designed to have the centers operate more like a private-sector business. The county also calls for all centers to operate similarly so that services will be uniform.

“They’re looking at best practices — what works best and how to get other WorkSource centers to operate with more consistency so visitors can expect the same suite of services,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for the city of Santa Clarita.

In face of looming budget cuts and having survived a round of staff reductions, the county’s hope is to do a better job at sharing resources among agencies that work with the unemployed and to better serve them, according to the county’s report.

The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center serves 12,000 to 14,000 visitors per year, according to Aaver.

Among the nine proposals, two call for focusing training, employment services and support to businesses in seven high-growth industries: construction, transportation and logistics, engineering and “green” jobs, health care, biotech, hospitality and tourism, and finance.

“We focus first on meeting needs as they exist,” Aaver said. “But we have also identified business sectors in Santa Clarita like filming, high-tech, aerospace, biomedical because those are four areas where we see growth in business and job opportunities.”

In addition to the operational changes, some of the county’s centers may be closed, depending on future funding levels, Aaver said.

Centers have to re-bid for funding every five years, she said. Locally, the center will have to bid again for funding next year.

But Aaver isn’t expecting drastic changes; she said the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center already follows some of the practices, including resource sharing, that are called for by the county.

The center, a collaboration between the city and College of the Canyons, is located on the Valencia campus. It works with a representative from the state Employment Development Department.

A free resource to those looking for jobs and businesses that need help recruiting, WorkSource centers located throughout L.A. County are supported through federal funds via the Workforce Investment Act.

“Every year, the budget amount from Workforce Investment Act funding changes,” Crawford said.

The federal money is funneled through the state, which allots a portion of it to L.A. County.

The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center receives its funding from the Antelope Valley WorkSource Center and is a sub-contractor intended to serve the Santa Clarita Valley.



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