Options Still Available To Local Job Seekers
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Finding work can be a daunting task, and although the Oskaloosa branch of Iowa Workforce Development has closed, there are still ways of obtaining the help needed to land that next job or to build your career.
Linda Rouse, Operations Director for Iowa Workforce in Ottumwa, was recently in Oskaloosa speaking with a group of individuals about the services offered to job seekers in the Oskaloosa area.
Rouse says that one of the best ways for a Oskaloosa resident to job hunt is to visit the Ottumwa office because of the multitude of services offered at the one location. “If they have barriers that they can’t come into the Ottumwa office, there are access points all over the region and in Oskaloosa in several different places,” Rouse said. She also highlighted the many workshops available at the Ottumwa office. Those would include workshops on interview skills to resume and cover-letter writing.
Rouse used the Indian Hills Success Center and its virtual access point as one of those places to seek help on finding help locally in your job search. “Another great way is to call our office and let somebody know, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a job. I’m having a hard time, how can you help me?’, and one of my staff will be more than willing to help them over the phone.”
Rouse said that during the phone process, the workforce staff will talk to them about their skills and educational background, they will also ask if commuting is a problem. Additionally, they will try to match the job seekers with the job they are looking for.
Rouse says that she does have staff that travels to Oskaloosa, “and one of those staff could set up an appointment with a job seeker and meet them right here in Oskaloosa.”
Understanding the difference between what is available at the virtual access points and what is available by just going online to the Iowa Workforce Development website.
Rouse says that the website is “an awesome opportunity if you’re a job seeker and you want to just go on and just look at jobs.”
“The virtual access point just offers so much more,” Rouse says. She points out the availability of “Key Train”. Key Train is a study guide to help in the preparation of NCRC [National Career Readiness Certificate].
The virtual access point contains urls where the job seeker can find out more information on financial assistance.
Career exploration assessments are also available by using the virtual access points. “It’s not as good as visiting the Ottumwa One Stop, but it offers a lot of different services,” Rouse said on using the virtual access points versus visiting the Ottumwa Workforce location.
Area high school students can utilize their 1-to-1 technology on the school supplied computers to take advantage of services offered by Workforce Development.
The schools are assigned a specific url [uniform resource locator] where a vast amount of information is available including assessments, job search, and financial aid information for college.
Iowa is currently at 5.2% unemployment, down from 5.9% a year ago. “In our region, it’s usually a little bit higher right around 6.8% to 7.5% depending upon the county,” Rouse said. Those working part-time would not be included in the current unemployment numbers.
Understanding unemployment numbers can be difficult. Rouse helped in understanding how those numbers are calculated.
Unemployment numbers can go up or down depending up on the number of Iowan’s looking for work. “When they stop looking for work and they’re not drawing unemployment anymore. So the numbers, it’s a number. It stands for what it is,” Rouse explained.
If you’re looking for work, the Ottumwa Workforce is offering a job fair this Thursday at the Ottumwa One Stop. From 10 am to 11 am the fair will be open for the use of veterans only, then from 11 am to 2 pm, the general public is invited to attend.
Fifteen different employers will be on hand looking to fill nearly 215 job openings. “If you’re looking for employment or looking for a new job come out and visit us at the One Stop,” Rouse said.
Mahaska County Virtual Access Locations:
Indian Hills Community College, William Penn University, South Central Iowa Center for Independent Living and the New Sharon Library are all listed on the Iowa Workforce Development website as virtual access points.