American Job Center of the Mid-Ohio Valley relocates

St. Joseph’s Landing to be new site

Photo by Evan Bevins Workforce Development Board of the Mid-Ohio Valley Director Janelle Comstock, left, and American Job Center coordinator Amber Jackson are pictured in the new Workforce Development Board offices at St. Joseph’s Landing. The offices are still being prepared to open around Aug. 1, but clients can call 304-420-4531 for assistance.

PARKERSBURG — Multiple programs to assist people looking for jobs are moving into St. Joseph’s Landing under the banner of an American Job Center, and officials hope the number continues to grow.

The goal of the move from Lakeview Center to the former hospital facility is “to become a true, comprehensive, one-stop American Job Center,” said Janelle Comstock, director of the Workforce Development Board for the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The board administers programs to assist job-seekers of all ages, as well as employers, for a region that includes Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, Clay and Mason counties.

Initiatives offered under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act — including the Adult and Dislocated Worker Program and the Career Connections service that helps youth train for and find jobs and receive paid experience in the workplace — will now be based on the fifth floor of the St. Joseph’s building at 1824 Murdoch Ave, Parkersburg. A site representative from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services will have an office there, through which the Senior Employment Program that assists residents 55 and older in training for and finding work will be run.

The region’s Employer Solutions team will be set up there as well. Its services include paying a portion of the salary for workers to train on the job and retraining employees who might otherwise lose their jobs because of outdated skills or credentials.

Photo by Evan Bevins Workforce Development Board of the Mid-Ohio Valley Director Janelle Comstock, left, and American Job Center coordinator Amber Jackson are pictured in the new Workforce Development Board offices at St. Joseph’s Landing.

And while the unemployment compensation and job search services will remain at Lakeview, an individual who works directly with job services will eventually have weekly office hours at St. Joseph’s Landing, said Amber Jackson, American Job Center coordinator for the region’s Workforce Development Board.

“We are still looking to recruit additional social service agencies to be housed under the same roof as us,” Comstock said.

The Workforce Development Board is leasing the fifth and sixth floors of the building, but Comstock said they will work with the owners of St. Joseph’s Landing to expand to additional floors if needed.

“The whole point of this model is to eliminate barriers,” she said. “Not only is it for the participants’ benefit but for the agencies’ return on investment as well.”

The agencies can share services such as phone and Internet and a receptionist, as well as collaborate on events like workshops while not duplicating efforts, Comstock said.

One new effort is the planned addition of a clothing closet to help clients get the attire they need for a job interview and going to work when they land it. There’s enough space to allow clients to go through it in private, Comstock said.

The approximately 24 employees are still moving into their new digs, and inspections by the Parkersburg code enforcement and fire departments must be completed before the news offices can open. That’s expected to happen around Aug. 1.

But clients can call 304-420-4531 to speak with program representatives and get assistance, Jackson said.

“We’re still functioning and operational, just not technically open,” she said.

A resource fair is planned for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 30 to highlight the new offices and services offered there.

Evan Bevins can be contacted at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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