POMEROY — The staff of OhioMeansJobs Meigs County recently met with the Meigs County Commissioners as they recognized Workforce Development Month.
Program Administrator Theresa Lavender was joined my OhioMeansJobs staff, Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services Director Chris Shank and Laurie McKnight, Area 14 Workforce Policy Board Director, to discuss the work of the agency to help job seekers in the area.
According to information provided in the proclamation for September 2019 as Workforce Development Month, in 2018, a total of 3,319 job seekers visited the OMJ Center in Middleport, including 701 individuals attending workshops or trainings, 1,982 individuals utilizing the resource room, and 1,305 individuals receiving services from partner agencies. Additionally, the OMJ Meigs Center worked with 70 different employers in 2018.
Among the other highlights for the agency over the past year have been the Careerpalooza at Southern High School, and working with the job shadowing program which is being launched as the idea of Meigs Principal Travis Abbot to include all three school districts. The agency also has increased on the job training contracts for employers and job seekers in which the agency can pay 50 percent of the employees pay for 13 weeks.
They have also been working to “think outside the box” and work with other agencies in order to overcome the barriers that are faced by job seekers.
OMJ Meigs has been working with Capabilities to provide assistance for job seekers, including career coaching and workshops.
The commissioners asked the OMJ staff about the needs they are seeking in job seekers and the obstacles that are standing in the way of individuals gaining employment.
Some of the key items touched on which are barriers to employment include: lack of driver’s license, felony records, passing drug tests, transportation and necessary job skills.
The need for public transportation in the area was discussed further, with the commissioners stating that they would help to advocate for funding to work toward a public transportation system in the area. It was noted that Mason County recently began a public transportation system, with the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Agency operating a successful system in Athens County.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.