Mobile Workforce Center bringing computers, internet access to job seekers

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

 Last week, Louisiana Workforce Commission Mobile Workforce Center made its debut at the Region V American Job Center at 2424 3rd St. in Lake Charles. The Mobile Workforce Center is designed to take the computers and Internet access to the job seeker. In Calcasieu Parish, the parish with the largest year- over-year decrease in employment of any parish or county in the nation – at a loss of 14.9 percent – could possibly help grease the wheels of change.

“The MWC has been traveling to different job fairs and community centers around the state since we received it in April,” said Chris Fiore, Louisiana Workforce Commission. “It’s available to businesses for large-scale hiring events, Career Day events at schools and universities and other community events at no charge.”

The 2020 Freightliner was customized by LDV Specialty Vehicles. At 40-feet long, the MWC is handicap accessible and equipped with a Broadband Satellite System and 4G LTE WiFi for internet access anywhere in the state. The MWC is staffed by two team members and a driver. The MWC Specialists have a background in Workforce Development at a state and local level. This expertise includes working with employers and job seekers. There are 13 computers on board which applicants and Louisiana business owners can use to access some of the many workforce resources LWC provides.

Fiore said the MWC would not replace brick and mortar offices.

“It is an additional rapid-response tool for the agency to serve employers who have a training or hiring need, jobseekers in rural areas who may have challenges accessing workforce services and for partners who could use additional resources,” he said.

The cost of the MWC was $477,938, and was paid for with Federal Rapid Response Funds.

“The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is the fiscal agent of the grant funding used to administer services and programs at the American Job Center where the MWC was open for tours,” explained Crystal Scott, local area coordinator for the American Jobs Center Region 5, which covers six parishes.

This center is a hub for finding job openings, getting help with creating a resume and finding career direction and funding for attending post-secondary education and short-term certification training. The Lake Charles office is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and closes at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

“We’re not the unemployment office, Scott said. “You won’t find an unemployment office anywhere in the state. Individuals may use the phone or computer here to contact an unemployment representative, but we don’t have one here.”

The Jobs Center is meant to be a place to get a high school diploma. It seeks to place the disabled. While no one on staff there can help individuals enroll in Sowela, they will offer guidance, including how to apply for scholarships for high demand occupations. They help persons aged 55-plus obtain employment and those who are challenged by barriers such as an ex- offender or the skills deficient.

“We can connect the people who seek our services to other community resources,” Scott said.