Blytheville Arkansas Workforce Center closing
BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Workforce Center location in Blytheville will soon close its doors.
In a news release, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services said it will restructure the Workforce Centers across the state.
The move also includes the move of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from the ADWS to the Department of Human Services.
The news of the closure upset Erica Cothran, who relies on the Workforce Center.
“It’s a big disappointment for people. I work during the school year; right now, all the teachers are laid off,” she said. “So yeah, we need our unemployment to get us through.”
According to the news release, the Blytheville location was “underutilized.”
Leona Tate works for a company where she’s laid off for two months of the year. She says the location is needed.
“We depend on this place. A lot of people are not computer literate, they need help, and the computer doesn’t always work,” Tate said.
“It’s convenient for us. Most people don’t have access to a computer, don’t have access to Wi-Fi or the internet, you know, so it’s convenient, and most people need that one-on-one help,” said Cothran.
Both Cothran and Tate were told there would be locations in Jonesboro, Paragould, and West Memphis. But, for people like Cothran, who needed a friend to get her to the Workforce Center, making the hour-long drive is not convenient.
“Sometimes you’re not able to find a ride; you’re gonna need something that’s close by,” Cothran explained. “Most people can’t make that distance.”
Cothran said if she has to go online, it’s just something she’ll have to work with.
“Everything is going digital now. You gotta do everything online nowadays, so, I just gotta do what I gotta do. If I gotta do it online, I will,” she said.
In an email statement, a representative of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services said:
“ADWS will utilize its mobile workforce centers that will travel around the state and provide services to areas without a brick-and-mortar Workforce Center. A mobile workforce center will be parked at the Blytheville Workforce Center from June 14 through June 30 to ensure there is no gap in services. Beginning July 1, we will move the mobile workforce center to a new location in Blytheville and modify the schedule based on demand for services. Once the location has been identified and the schedule is complete, we will announce that information via local news outlets, the ADWS website and social media pages. ADWS staff members are assigned to the mobile workforce centers and are cross-trained in multiple ADWS programs such as unemployment insurance, employment services, and Veterans Employment and Training.
In addition to the mobile units, ADWS has created a job seeker database, enabling the division to contact unemployed Arkansans directly, improving the delivery and efficiency of services. Arkansas’ job seeker database, Arkansas JobLink (AJL), is a web-based job-matching and labor market information system. To be added to the database, individuals can create an AJL job-seeker account at https://www.arjoblink.arkansas.gov/.”
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