For Immediate Release - June 06, 2011

Berkshire's One Stop Career Centers to Streamline Services

Pittsfield's BerkshireWorks Will Continue to Offer Full Array of Services and Satellite Services will still be provided in North Adams and Adams

BOSTON - June 6, 2011-- The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today announced that the Berkshires' One Stop Career Centers will be consolidated as part of efforts to increase career center efficiency. On June 24, 2011, the North Adams satellite center will close, and operations will be consolidated into the BerkshireWorks main location in Pittsfield, which will continue to serve the region's customers with its full array of career services. Satellite services will also be provided in North Adams and Adams on a weekly basis.

The decision to consolidate the centers was made by the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. (BCREB) which oversees a number of federal and state programs including the BerkshireWorks career centers in the Berkshires.   

"After a careful analysis of costs and benefits, it was determined that the Berkshire region as a whole would benefit from saving money through consolidation," said Albert A. Ingegni, III, Chairman of the Berkshire Workforce Investment Board. "It is clear that by streamlining services we will be able to maintain the assortment and quality of programming our customers have come to expect." 

Under the consolidation plan, some of the resources from the satellite center will be moved to the larger center in Pittsfield. The BCREB and BerkshireWorks administration has worked closely with Mayor Richard Alcombright of North Adams and Town Manager Jonathan Butler of Adams to ensure that some satellite services will still be provided in Northern Berkshire.

"While this streamlining effort is underway, I will work closely with the BCREB and BerkshireWorks to ensure that our northern Berkshire residents still have access to quality workforce services," said North Adams Mayor Alcombright. "It is critical to continue to provide as many services to our residents as possible to help them access training and employment opportunities."

The North Adams Library will provide space for workforce workshops and for BerkshireWorks staff up to one day a week to assist customers. A similar space will be provided in at the Berkshire Visitor's Bureau in Adams for customers on a weekly basis. One the final details have been arranged, the community will be well informed of the days, times and locations.

"While this streamlining effort is underway, the Workforce Investment Board will work closely with state and local officials," said George Moriarty, Director of the state's Department of Career Services. "We are looking at ways to try to expand upon existing job seeker services including more online services." 

There is a steady improvement in the employment picture in the Berkshires. The Berkshire County unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% in Aril 2011 which is down from 8.5% in March 2011 and down from 8.3% a year ago.

In addition to encouraging the public to utilize programs and services at all of the state's career centers, the state's Department of Career Services noted that those seeking work are encouraged to visit the Commonwealth's online jobs database <u>Job Quest</u> , which currently houses information about 28,958 jobs. Many unemployment insurance benefit services are available online at www.mass.gov/dua . 

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development remains committed to serving every unemployed or underemployed resident in Massachusetts, and will continue working to ensure that every jobseeker has the resources and opportunities they need to get back to work.  

Follow EOLWD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MassLWD   Jobs Blog at: <u>www.jobs.blog.state.ma.us</u> and JobQuest at <u>www.mass.gov/jobquest</u>