DUBLIN – While unemployment rates remain high in our county, Bladen Community College is providing extraordinary workforce training opportunities for qualifying citizens of Bladen County. Through Integrated Service Delivery, Bladen Community College has partnered with the NCWorks Career Center, and other collaborative agencies to provide a center of workforce excellence. Bladen Community College serves as the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) contract provider for Bladen County.
In the fall of 2014, President Barrack Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a federal program created to provide state and local areas the flexibility to collaborate across systems and facilitate the acquisition of skills for current employers and jobseekers. As a part of this act, the NCWorks Career Center of Bladen County, located on Mercer Mill Road, and Bladen Community College partner to provide an array of employment and skills enhancement opportunities.
The NCWorks Career Center (formerly the Employment Security Commission) may bring a new name to the community, but it continues to provide quality customer service to its employers and jobseeker. Many jobseekers visit the center with unique circumstances and different situations. The staff listens, assesses and refers customers to various training resources, when applicable.
Katrina Harbison, Bladen Community College, WIOA Program Director, brings a hands-on approach to serving customers. When it is determined that a jobseeker needs basic or enhanced training to improve their employment opportunities, the staff will enroll qualified individuals into the WIOA Program.
Ms. Harbison and the WIOA case managers can provide career assessment for jobseekers, many of whom may need Job Ready Training offered by Bladen Community College. Such training may include adult high school and GED classes. For others, there are continuing education classes, certificates, and associate degree programs. Included in the services are testing and assessment of students, employer resources, small business center opportunities, and business services.
The Bladen Community WIOA Program work experience and on-the-job training opportunities are offered for qualifying applicants. Additional services offered at the NCWorks Career Center of Bladen County include résumé preparation, job search assistance, and on-site job readiness training.
Bladen Community College has collaborated with the NCWorks Career Center with a community commitment to better align the workforce system with education.
“We can assist individuals in securing the necessary credentials that will improve their employability skills, thereby meeting standards of potential employers. In turn, this will increase economic self-sufficiency,” states Harbison.
Ann Garrett describes the impact of WIOA in Bladen County as one-of-a-kind. “We are a hidden jewel in rural eastern North Carolina,” she says. “The Bladen center, through partnerships with Bladen Community College, the Bladen County Department of Social Services, NC Vocational Rehabilitation of Bladen County and the Lumber River Council of Governments, offers citizens of Bladen County one-stop-service. We have successfully brought all of these valuable resources under one roof.”
The WIOA addresses the needs of adults, youth, and dislocated workers. Garrett is especially excited about the services available to dislocated workers. She remarks, “When an individual is laid off from a job due to no fault of their own, WIOA has options beyond what the typical job service office has to offer. In some cases the individual is in need of more than a referral. They need additional training.”
Bladen Community College is an integral part in the process of providing educational opportunities to jobseekers in Bladen County.
For more information about your potential employment and career options, visit the NCWorks Career Center of Bladen County at 401 Mercer Mill Road or call 910-862-3255. To learn more about opportunities at Bladen Community College, call 910 879-5500.