For Immediate Release - June 02, 2014

Labor Secretary Hosts Open Houses to Highlight One-Stop Career Center Services for Job Seekers and Employers

Holyoke “CareerPoint” Center’s behind the wall partnership with the Hampden County Sheriff puts ex-offenders to work

(Holyoke, June 2, 2014)—As part of a series of regional open houses, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian today joined Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe, Jr., legislators and local officials to tour the Holyoke “CareerPoint” Center, one of 33 statewide career centers that serve more than 248,000 job seekers and employers annually.

“We are seeing more and more success stories come out of our career centers, especially for the 100,000 customers who successfully found work last year,” said Secretary Kaprielian. “The centers are hidden gems for those looking for training and new or better careers and employers recruiting and hiring skilled labor. “

Under the Patrick Administration, career centers have provided services to more than 1.4 million job seekers and 81,200 employers, successfully placing approximately 650,000 customers into jobs.

All career centers offer core services for job seekers such as job search assistance, access to online job listings and a resource room with computers, phones and specialized software. The centers also promote career counseling, workshops on different job search strategies, networking groups and a veterans’ representative.

Thirteen years ago, “CareerPoint” and the “FutureWorks” career center in Springfield along with the regional employment board partnered with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office on a re-entry program for ex-offenders.  The program offers career readiness and job training to inmates “behind the wall” and encourages them to take advantage of other career center programs once they are released.

Since then, more than 10,000 inmates have taken part in the program. Each year approximately 2,500 ex-offenders receive more than 30,000 re-entry services. Those who utilized the most career center services both behind bars and in the community had a 73 percent employment rate.

Many Cruz is one ex-offender who parlayed the re-entry services into a career in machining.

“The people I worked with at “CareerPoint” never gave up on me,” said Cruz. “They helped me change my life around for the better and succeed in following a career path.”

“This regional partnership is a highly successful model that bridges the gap between incarceration and re-entry into the community,” said David Cruise, Ex. Director of the Hampden County Regional Employment Board. “The program has had a profound impact on recidivism and public safety and helps contribute to the economic vitality of Hampden County.”

“We are delighted to team with the regional employment board and both career centers in offering this successful program,” said Sheriff Ashe. “Employment is an important component of re-entry, reducing both recidivism and ultimately positively impacting public safety. We look forward to continuing this initiative for many years to come.”

 “CareerPoint”, like other one stop career centers, also partners with area employers and offers free services such as applicant prescreening, testing and assessing candidates, job posting, recruiting, applying for training grants and tax credits and job fairs. Career center councilors determine the work force needs of area employers looking to grow and match them to job seekers who have the appropriate skills and experience.

Other services for employers often include helping them apply for a variety of hiring and workforce training grant programs. Since 2007, the Patrick Administration has made record investments in workforce training and education, awarding more than $84.3 million in training grants involving more than 1,191 businesses and 103,584 workers.

For more information on One-Stop Career Centers and locations, please visit www.mass.gov/connectjobs.

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