Candidate tours One-Stop, St. Mary’s

Published 9:58 am Thursday, August 21, 2014

Candidate for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District Jennifer Garrison attended the dedication of the Port of South Point on Tuesday, then made her way to Ironton to tour Ohio Means Jobs Lawrence County One-Stop, St. Mary’s Medical Center-Ironton Campus and the Early Childhood Development Center in Hanging Rock.

Garrison was led on a tour of the One-Stop by Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization Executive Director D.R. Gossett, CAO assistant executive director Ralph Kline and Ohio Means Jobs Program Director Jewell Hackworth.

“It looks like you are doing everything here,” Garrison said. “The people of Lawrence County are lucky to have such a wonderful tool at their disposal. You are doing a great job.”

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The OhioMeansJobs Lawrence County (OMJ) is the One-Stop employment center. Numerous services are provided for both employers and job seekers. For employers, the center offers applicant screening, ACT Work Keys assessment services, interview areas as well as various types of employee training.

Services available for job seekers include ACT Work Keys assessment, assistance with resumes and job searches as well as training for adults, dislocated workers and youth. Registration with employment services gives to job seekers access to Job Net and Ohio Works database of available jobs as well as the filing of unemployment claims. GEDs can be obtained at the facility that also offers assistance for older and impaired individuals.

Gossett gave Garrison a brief overview of all services provided by Ohio Means Jobs and touched on some benefits of the free services.

“We have a lot of fairly skilled workers in the area who feel like they shouldn’t apply for jobs for whatever reason,” he said. “They come here and we get them ready to apply. People who have been incarcerated or battled addiction often make the best employees because they are grateful to have been given a second chance.”

Bringing all programs together under one roof, Hackworth said, was one of the more difficult tasks.

“There are turf issues,” she told Garrison, “it is certainly tough to structure when so many entities are brought together. Overlapping services saves more dollars and helps more people.”

The One-Stop is also a wise use of tax dollars, Garrison said.

“I think taxpayers would love to see that their tax dollars are going toward programs like this,” she said. “Because what this does is train people and get them in a position to go out into the workforce and create tax dollars themselves. Too often I see employers looking for qualified workers but he or she has had a past problem with drugs or alcohol; if only half of those people make it successfully through to getting gainful employment then you have changed lots of lives.”

Gossett said many local employers believe in the One-Stop.

“Our relationship with local employers could be a model for a lot of other counties,” he said. “We bridge the gap between job seekers and employers.”