FAIRFIELD — Friday was moving day for the staff at the Somerset Career Center — from North Avenue in Skowhegan to new digs Monday on the Alfond Campus of Kennebec Valley Community College at Good Will-Hinckley in Fairfield.

It’s a big jump and a rather big deal, said Ed Upham, director at the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Services.

“It’s a partnership between the Department of Labor and the Career Centers and the community college,” Upham said by phone Monday. “This has been done in many other states, and it’s been very successful and very good for all parties.”

Upham said KVCC is a partner with the state labor department in the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act into law on July 22, 2014. It is designed to help job seekers obtain employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the act by a wide bipartisan majority, making it the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.

Maine Career Centers, with 12 locations across the state, provide employment and training services at no charge for Maine workers and businesses. Job seekers can use the Career Center’s free resources to jump-start their job search. Career Centers assist employers with recruitment, training, and workforce services and offer access to Maine labor market information.

Upham said the move took into account the area and easy public access from both the Waterville and Skowhegan areas. The new name is the North Kennebec Valley Career Center, with new offices in the Averill Building on the KVCC campus.

He said the center is in talks with the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program for possible transportation options.

Linda Price, the center’s assistant manager, said KVCC officials wanted them to move in before students start arriving for the fall semester.

“Our doors opened at 8 o’clock and we had a customer waiting to use the information center,” Price said during a Monday afternoon tour of the center. “It’s exciting. We’re just getting settled, meeting security, maintenance, you name it.”

The new Career Center offers space for the nine employees in four rooms for offices and meetings, interviews and monthly workshops, a kitchen, an information center with computers and a reception area, managed Monday by Rita Chaykowsky of the Associates for Training and Development agency, which places people 50 years and older, in jobs.

“I love it,” Chaykowsky said. “It gives me a chance to meet different people, meet different clients, to help them to interact with my other co-workers and to help them as a team to set things up. And it gets me out of the house.”

The center also works with the Western Maine Community Action Program.

The Bureau of Employment Services at the Maine Department of Labor this month announced that the Skowhegan and Southern Midcoast Career Centers would be moving to Maine Community College System campuses. The moves include Vocational Rehabilitation programs that are housed within each Career Center, and they are expected to impose limited disruption to service, and no changes to staff or services to workers and employers upon reopening, according to a news release.

The Southern Midcoast Career Center, now located on Bath Road in Brunswick, will move in early fall to join Southern Midcoast Community College’s Midcoast Campus at its L.L. Bean Learning Commons at Brunswick Landing.

The Augusta Career Center, along with programs for Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in March moved in with the Maine Department of Labor at 45 Commerce Drive.

Upham said the first of the many changes occurred earlier this year when the hours were adjusted at the Wilton Career Center at 865 U.S. Route 2 in Wilton. The hours there are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I think it is a big deal. It’s good for everybody,” he said. “The Career Center serves everyone. Anyone who needs any help with any kind of job-seeking services, re-employment services or training will be served at that Career Center, as will all the employers in Northern Kennebec Valley.”

Price said job counselors are on duty at the Career Centers, helping people get connected to employment and helping employers develop their workforce. The centers also provide training opportunities, including links to future employers for training on the job, including computers, heavy equipment and forklift operators.

“Being responsive to the needs of Maine employers and workers is at the forefront of everything we do,” Department of Labor Commissioner John Butera said in a news release. “That means understanding and adapting to the ways our customers want to interact with us. While in the early years of the Career Center model that meant ‘bricks and mortar’ to manage foot traffic into the offices throughout the state, today it means a modernized approach more in alignment with the current technology and the access demands of our customers.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.