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Some unemployed could get free training, education

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The area's unemployed and underemployed, according to officials, will have the opportunity to get free training and education thanks to federal stimulus funding.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported the nationwide funding of the workforce investment system which includes some $3.5 billion to local one-stop career centers.

The Clayton Branch One-Stop Career Resource Center will receive some of Georgia's $56.9 million share of federal stimulus funding for job skills training for economically disadvantaged and laid-off adults, officials said.

Clayton's Career Resource Center Manager Dorothy Herzberg said needs continue to grow at the center, which provides help with job searches, resume preparation, and interview skills.

The center, located on the Clayton State University campus in Morrow, is a partnership between the Atlanta Regional Commission and Clayton State University to provide one-stop services to underemployed and unemployed individuals. The center, which serves Clayton, Fayette, and Henry counties, also supplements the costs of job-skills training and education for future and prospective employment.

"In Henry County, our numbers are picking up tremendously," Herzberg said. "Just in April, we had 87 people come into the Henry [satellite] office, which is only open on Wednesdays."

She said unemployment needs in the area have been consistent over the past year.

The unemployment rate throughout the region is constant as well. The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday the unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Atlanta remained unchanged at 9.1 percent from March to April.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in April, however, up slightly from a revised 9.2 percent in March and February, according to the labor department. The state reported job losses were in manufacturing, trade, transportation, and professional and business services.

"We see it across the board," Herzberg added. "We see blue-collar and white-collar workers. We really work with everybody. The average person that's going to be walking through the door may not have the skills required to get back into the work force."

Herzberg said the local share of stimulus funding has not been specified by the state's Workforce Investment Board but would go a long way toward providing supplemental finances to help pay the cost of job training and education of the Career Resource Center's eligible clients. Clients may be eligible to receive funding to pay training costs, from completing a commercial driver's license program to completing nursing school.

"We do a lot of medical training now," she said. "We do truck-driving schools, medical office training, welding and industrial maintenance ... We're hoping to get as many people as possible into training. That's our goal [with the stimulus funding], to get a lot more people into training."

Herzberg said the Career Resource Center may also be able to help individuals with other financial aid planning, like applying for federal PELL grants and Georgia's HOPE scholarships.

For more about job training through the Clayton Branch One-Stop Career Resource Center, call (770) 960-2172. The center, located at 3000 Corporate Center, Suite 350, in Morrow, is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m.

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On the net:

Clayton Career Resource Center http://conted.clayton.edu

Atlanta Regional Commission: www.atlantaregional.com