Career Center future is uncertain

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Monett office of the Missouri Career Center may be facing closure due to state and federal budget cuts, but members of the Workforce Investment Board in Joplin have a plan that will continue to serve clients in the Monett area.

Jasen Jones is the executive director of the Workforce Investment Board, which serves a seven-county area that includes Barry County. Jones said the board is looking into other options if the state cuts funding to the Monett Career Center and eight other facilities across the state.

"If this goes forward, the office won't be closed until June, which is the end of the state's fiscal year," Jones said. "As a non-profit entity, our grants are not being cut, so we are looking how to best serve the area."

Jones said one option might include a mobile Career Center, which will visit Monett one time a week as well as other rural communities in the seven-county region.

"That would at least allow us to have a presence in Monett, as well as Aurora, Mt. Vernon and other communities where people would have had to drive to Monett," Jones said. "That would allow us to provide services that don't cost as much, because we wouldn't be hindered by the encumbrances that come with state funding."

Jones said the board was also looking at utilizing the Crowder College GED sites in the area, which include a site in Monett.

"This is not a bad thing, it's just a different thing," Jones said. "We will have to make the best of state budget cuts."

But there is no reason for job-seekers to panic yet.

"Everything is still in the planning stages," Jones said. "If the state does cut funds to the Career Centers, we want to have a plan in place to address the situation and continue to provide services to the people of Monett."

The Career Center is located at 511 S. Kyler St. in Monett.

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