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YPIC: The door between jobs and job seekers
A homeless man lands a job, a breadwinner is now able to support his family after being in the ranks of the unemployed for months, a young person discovers a satisfying career through summer work, employers are thrilled with new employees.
These are the stories that come out of the services provided by Yuma Private Industry Council.
"People come in with sad stories and we need to offer them hope," said Cynthia Marshall, business services officer for the agency that seeks to connect job seekers and employers. "It's when they come back with success stories that makes the job worthwhile."
Funded through the federal Workforce Investment Act, the agency provides one-stop services for both those seeking jobs and those offering them. WIA was implemented by the federal government to increase employment, job retention and earnings to reduce welfare dependence and enhance the economy.
Over lunch Thursday for several local businesses, the agency outlined the various services it provides.
"You may not need the services today," Marshall said. But perhaps down the road someone will and they'll know where to turn. Or they know someone who needs an employee or a job.
"There are jobs out there," she said. "We are getting people jobs. Unfortunately there aren't enough jobs for everyone."
A case in point was the job fair YPIC recently hosted. Six hundred people were processed in the first 45 minutes.
There's also been a big jump in the number of people coming through the doors at YPIC One Stop Career Center seeking help to get back on their feet.
Typically, the agency was processing about 1,000 job seekers a month - that number is now 2,500 to 2,800. Many of them are unemployed for the first time and several are highly qualified people with degrees and years of experience, said Patrick Goetz.
Education and training manager for YPIC, lately his other responsibility as rapid response coordinator has been taking more of his time.
In that role, he visits businesses that will be downsizing or closing their doors. The rapid response team can assist with the layoff process, sign up employees for unemployment insurance and get them connected with the various services YPIC offers.
In one case, bad news for one company was good news for another. Allstate was hiring for its new express call center at the same time Spherion call center was closing, so the insurance company was able to hire many of the displaced workers on the spot, Goetz said.
At the One-Stop Centers in Yuma and Somerton, YPIC offers three levels of services.
Core services include outreach, job search and placement services and labor market information, said Marco Garcia, outreach coordinator. These services are available to all job seekers and include something as basic as a bulletin board with job postings to instruction on how to access job search sites online. Professional resume writers are available to polish off a resume, or people can file their weekly unemployment insurance report there, Garcia said.
Several Yuma-area companies found their employees through assistance from YPIC, whether conducting the screening process or actually turning over space for the company to do its recruiting.
The second level, intensive services, offers one-on-one assistance with skill and interest assessments, development of individual career plans and counseling, perhaps for a change in career to one that currently is hiring, Garcia said.
Training services help prepare a job seeker for work. The first stop might be the life skills class taught by Daniel Sanchez, during which people learn such basics of showing up for work and on time or how to knot a tie.
Most important though, Sanchez said, is that people learn character. "The only job security you have is yourself," he teaches. "There's a difference between wisdom and knowledge. The important thing is what your life says, not your mouth."
Next, people may receive training for a particular job in compressed classes. These classes all train for jobs that are currently in demand, such as mechanics, nursing assistant, office work and cosmetology. Or YPIC can provide customized training for a particular company or industry.
Then YPIC will help place these people. But they're not on their own once they're on the job. YPIC may help pay a salary while the person gains on-the-job training, buy tires and gas so a person can get to work, assist with child care or provide safety boots or glasses if that is what the new hiree needs, Marshall said.
Yet another service is links on the YPIC web site to various job search services and business that are constantly hiring, Marshall said. If interested, give her a call at 329-0990.
As part of its education services, YPIC operates a charter high school on its campus for the nontraditional students, often those at risk of dropping out, Marshall said. The agency, in partnership with the Yuma Union High School District, also has launched the GOOD (Grow Our Own Destiny) program to shepherd at-risk students through high school.
Another new program, Smart Training, is being offered in partnership with the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce to help businesses weather the troubled economy by teaching survival skills or lending expertise if it comes to layoff, Marshall said.
These and other partnerships are vital to YPIC's mission, Garcia said. Together, these partners are helping businesses find the employees they need to succeed. In the process, they're bringing hope and a better tomorrow to the unemployed or underemployed.
Like the homeless man now staying at Crossroads Mission who just completed a truck driving program offered through the California Career School in partnership with YPIC and Arizona Western College, said Joseph Ziemer, the local coordinator. The man is now ready to hit the road literally and figuratively to a better life.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853.
WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP
• Yuma Career Center, 3834 W. 16th St., Yuma; call 329-0990
• Somerton Career Center, 201 N. Bingham, Suite 19, in Someton; call 627-9396
• Online at www.ypic.com