Workforce One Stop Center launched

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks Liandro Castillo researches truck driving positions Tuesday in the career resource center at the New Mexico Workforce Connections One Stop Center. An official estimates about 600 people will use the center each week.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Local and state officials and business people gathered Tuesday morning for a grand opening ceremony of the Clovis-Curry County New Mexico Workforce Connections One Stop Center.

Getting the center from the point of an idea to a reality was a difficult process, Terri Cole, State Workforce Development Board chairwoman, said.

“This really has been a labor of love for me, but it has been a labor,” she said, laughing with the crowd.

Located on the corner of Main and First streets, the building hosts five agencies under one roof, providing businesses and job seekers a single location for assistance.

Steve Westall, performance manager at the center said it is anticipated more than 600 people will seek services per week.

There is a staff of about two dozen on hand to assist, he said.

Agencies housed at the center include the Clovis Community College Workforce Training Center, Department of Workforce Solutions, Youth Opportunity Center, Department of Aging & Long Term Services and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“This has been a long time coming and I am really excited,” said Jimmie Shearer, chairman of the Eastern Area Workforce Development Board, while speaking to a crowd of about 100 gathered outside the building.

The board provides workforce training and social services in 12 eastern New Mexico counties.

Shearer touted the convenience and efficiency the center will give the community.

Offered at the center are resources for job seekers and local businesses including computer resources, training programs and a conference room.

Approximately $475,000 in funding used to create the center was drawn from state and federal coffers, Shearer said.

“Job seekers don’t have to run all over town to seek assistance from different agencies,” he said.

Shearer said the model sought by the board is to make businesses the number one customer.

“If the businesses are not hiring our job seekers, then we’re doing all this training for nothing,” he said. “We want to train the people the way the employers want.”