Hale Resource Center to close office

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2005

Cuts in the Alabama state budget have resulted in the immediate loss of six Hale County jobs and damaged Hale residents’ chances of finding new ones.

The HERO Community Career Resource Center, or Knowledge Caf/, will close on Thursday, March 31. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has provided grant money to fund the Career Center since its inception in 2002, but that funding has been rescinded and the Center has no option but to close.

Reaction in Hale County has naturally been one of disappointment.

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“The Career Center really helped the people in Hale County,” said state Senator Bobby Singleton. “It was beneficial for residents to be able to get the training needed to secure employment.”

“I am saddened that this very important program that has served so many of our people in Hale County who needed assistance in finding employment must close,” said Judge Sonny Ryan, District Judge and founder of HERO, the Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization. “I am further distressed at the number of people who are losing their jobs from the Community Career Resource Center.”

Six full-time jobs have been eliminated by the Career Center’s closing, and several employees’ part-time salaries will be scaled back as a result of the budget cuts.

The loss will also be felt by those residents in Hale County seeking work. The Career Resource Center offered the unemployed Hale a number of classes and services to help those without jobs find them. Programs in basic computer skills, typing, adult literacy, job placement, work experience, and r/sum/ skills were all offered at the Center’s Main St. campus in Greensboro to help applicants acquire and retain a job.

In addition, the Center offered a free referral service for employers and applicants. Businesses looking to fill an entry-level position could notify the Center of the vacancy and the position’s qualifications, and then wait for the Center to refer its qualified, pre-screened clients.

“This is the type of service that supports both ends of the spectrum,” said Ryan. “It affects the employer that needs a supply of entry-level workers and it affects the job seekers from a rural area that are trying to enter the workforce.”

Unfortunately, as of March 31 the referral service and employment education programs will no longer exist. Those seeking help with their job search will now have to rely on a substantially scaled-back, by-appointment-only career services arm of a different HERO project, the Family Resource Center. Eva Bryant-Greene, Executive Director of the Career Center, says that while it won’t compare to the services made available through the Career Center something has to be done to help.

“The people in Hale County have demonstrated their interest in having a central location for employment assistance and job training opportunities. To make space available for people to come and type their own r/sum/ is only meeting half the need,” she said. “The other valuable component is to have staff people available to teach people the purpose of a r/sum/ and help them practice interviewing skills to secure gainful employment.”

After March 31, Hale residents can call 624-9100 to make an appointment with a job placement representative. The representative will, according to a statement released by HERO, “give professional guidance on developing a r/sum/, assist with a job search, conduct skills assessments, and help Hale County residents devise a targeted employment plan.”

Appointments will be held in the current Career Center campus on Greensboro’s Main St. Students of Auburn’s Rural Studios, under the direction of designer Andrew Freear, handled the renovation of the 100-year-old property.

For additional information or to volunteer to provide professional career services, HERO asks residents to call 624-9100 or stop by the main office at 1015 Market St., Greensboro.