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Birmingham company to employ county workers

Clayton County is moving the employment of many of its more than 300 part-time workers to a company based out of Alabama, in a move that some area officials say will be a benefit for the county.

The county hired the Birmingham-based WorkTrain USA, LLC, employment staffing agency this week, for a one-year period, to oversee these workers, ranging from summer-time pool lifeguards, to temporary library workers.

WorkTrain officials said the company is currently working solely in the Birmingham area, but is pushing to enter the Atlanta market, because it sees a chance for growth in the area. They added that Clayton County will be the first Atlanta-area community that has employed the company, and WorkTrain will be establishing its first local office in Jonesboro, as a result.

County Manager Wade Starr said county officials are enthusiastic about the agreement, and they expect the majority of part-time employees hired by WorkTrain will be Clayton County residents. “We’re excited about the fact that the company is locating an office in Clayton County, and will focus on hiring Clayton County citizens to work in the county,” Starr said.

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the hiring of WorkTrain earlier this week.

“Clayton County recognizes the need of a reputable temporary staffing agency, capable of providing a comprehensive catalog of personnel to fill unclassified positions on an as-needed, non-permanent basis,” the commission’s resolution, authorizing the hiring of the company, states.

Starr said WorkTrain will initially employ part-time workers for the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, and then expand into other areas, such as the county’s department on aging, and libraries.

There was no set dollar amount for how much money Clayton County’s government will pay to WorkTrain for the services laid out in the contract. Starr said the county will pay the salary for each employee, to WorkTrain, who will, in turn, pay it to the employee.

WorkTrain will become responsible for handling workman’s compensation and general liability issues for the workers, Starr added He said the county should save money by losing those responsibilities. “The only real difference for employees will be whose name is on the check,” Starr said.

The county manager, and WorkTrain President Frank Petrusnek, said the move to hire WorkTrain to oversee part-time employees could actually generate some funding for the county. The federal government provides $2,400 tax credits for the hiring of part-time employees, if they fall within certain descriptions.

Petrusnek said the descriptions include: veterans, convicted felons, and people living on food stamps, welfare, or social security, or who are involved in vocational rehabilitation programs. Starr said many residents of Clayton County fall under the allowed descriptions.

Petrusnek said WorkTrain receives those credits and transfers them to “large major banks,” who, in turn, can use the credits on their tax returns. “They pay us a fee for those credits ... and then we share the money with Clayton County,” he said.

Starr said Clayton County would receive 20 percent of the money made from that transaction, which he added could result in hundreds of dollars for each part-time employee that WorkTrain employs. “So, we stand to benefit to the tune of up to $480 per each one of the employees that are hired through WorkTrain,” he said.

Petrusnek said the county will use the money to “help train people to help get better jobs.”

All-in-all, Starr said there are a lot of positives about the agreement for the county, in terms of the money earned from the tax credit transfers, and who is expected to get the jobs. “We think it’s a win-win for both the employees and the citizens of the county,” he said. “We’ll actually earn a little money on each one of the [part-time employees] that come to us, and in addition to that, we will increasingly focus on hiring Clayton County residents to work for the county.”