On August 25 the Franklin Hampshire Northampton Career Center at 178 Industrial Drive will consolidate into the Franklin Hampshire Greenfield Career Center located at One Arch Place (6 Arch St.) in Greenfield. The Franklin Hampshire Career Center has experienced significant federal funding reductions over the last two years requiring the Career Center to merge its two career centers into one full service center.
The Franklin Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium, which operates the Career Center, and the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, which sets workforce policy for the region, recently undertook a facility planning process to determine how best to serve customers with reduced resources exploring a variety of restructuring and relocation options. A single full-service Career Center with satellite services in high demand areas was identified as the optimal solution. This will allow the Career Center to retain sufficient staff to provide a full range of services throughout the two county region while reducing operating costs.
FHETC is currently working with partner agencies to identify a location in Northampton where Career Center staff can be stationed several days a week to provide Employment and Career services on a part-time basis. Services will include: Career Center membership applications, needs assessment and referral to Career Center programs or partner agency programs, Career Center information seminars to introduce the public to Career Center services, assistance with Unemployment Insurance claims, job search and re-employment assistance, and rotating workshops on a variety of employment topics including resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, and applying for jobs online.
Business services will now operate out of the Greenfield office although job fairs and employer recruitments will continue to take place in Hampshire County. Individualized job training and job search assistance will now take place in the Greenfield office, but limited one-on-one appointments will be made available for people unable to get to the Greenfield office. The Career Center also will expand its use of online and electronic services. Some follow up services will be done over the phone or online via Skype or other teleconferenced services for those with internet and computer access.
Career Center Executive Director, Teri Anderson, stated “The Career Center is committed to serving Hampshire County. We are making every effort to modernize and think creatively about our service delivery options to address funding shortfalls that limit our brick and mortar locations. Our goal is to reach remote and high demand areas of our service area, and the Career Center is exploring other possible satellite service locations within the limits of our funding and staffing.” For instance, the Career Center currently stations a staff person one day a week at The Literacy Project office in Orange. We hope to be able to do this in Northampton and other locations in Hampshire County particularly east of the Connecticut River, she said.
Regional Employment Board Chair William Sharp notes that “while the consolidation of the Franklin Hampshire Career Centers is regrettable, the process that was implemented to evaluate our options was diligent and thorough. As we move forward we will look for new opportunities to provide greater access to our services for our customers in both the Hampshire and Franklin County regions.”
For Hampshire County residents that don’t have access to a car, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority operates round trip bus service between downtown Northampton and downtown Greenfield 4 times per day during Career Center business hours including 2 express bus runs. Also, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority have bus connections in Sunderland that provide bus service between Amherst and Greenfield.
Information about how to take advantage of Career Center services after August 24th can be found on the Franklin Hampshire Career Center website at: http://www.fhcc-onestop.com/ or by calling the Career Center at 413-774-4361. Inquiries to the Northampton Career Center can be made until August 24th by calling 413-586-6506.