By: Todd Etshman//May 11, 2012
By: Todd Etshman//May 11, 2012//
Part of a $65.5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to help speed up hiring for those individuals receiving unemployment compensation benefits is coming to Rochester in the form of up to five new career service advisors.
“This is something we couldn’t afford to do ourselves,” said RochesterWorks! Executive Director Peter Pecor.
The new career counselors are added to the six currently has working out of the two full service RochesterWorks! centers at 255 North Goodman St. and 276 Waring Road.
“We haven’t had the resources to follow a specific individual for a long period of time until now. They’ll provide an intense one-on-one assessment to determine a person’s reemployment needs and help them overcome whatever employment barriers they’re facing,” Pecor explained. “We’re a conduit to assist people in navigating the system to really get people prepared for reemployment.”
The New York State Department of Labor has already started the process of interviewing for the additional counselor positions in Rochester, and Pecor said they should arrive soon. The federal DOL assistance to One-Stop Career Centers nationwide is part of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment initiative.
In announcing the distribution, the DOL said REA programs have been shown to reduce the number of weeks claimants receive unemployment benefits.
“These grants allow us to bring [unemployment insurance] beneficiaries into the One-Stop Center where they are introduced to all of the reemployment services that are available,” said Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. “REA participants get the best available help needed to find good jobs.”
The RochesterWorks! branches serve about 35,000 people in the area, and approximately two-thirds of those are receiving unemployment benefits. Statewide, the 88 One-Stop Career Centers helped over 400,000 people find jobs in 2011, the governor’s office reported.
The New York DOL refers claimants to the One-Stop Career Center when they file for unemployment benefits.
“This funding is critical to helping the state implement workforce programs that quickly and effectively provide unemployed New Yorkers with job training and placement opportunities so they are well equipped with tools necessary for securing a good-paying job to support their families,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said of the federal DOL initiative.
New York received $10.5 million from the federal DOL, the largest award distribution of any state.
“This federal grant recognizes the success of our One-Stop Career Centers and that New York state is a leader in helping the unemployed find a job. We will continue to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, and do all we can to help unemployed New Yorkers get back into the workforce,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing New York’s share of the award on Thursday.
Pecor said he is hopeful the additional counselors will be able to assist between 100 and 150 people a month prepare for their next job.
“Hopefully there will be a rapid transition of people finding jobs so they can help more people find jobs,” Pecor said. “The economy hasn’t been that great but we’re pleased with our success rate.”