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Need a job? Here's a place to begin

September 24, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

Need a job?

A place to start - to have a rsum critiqued, search for jobs and learn interviewing tips, among other tasks - is the One-Stop Job Center in downtown Hagerstown.

The Job Center, on the square in Hagerstown, offers an array of tools for people who need a new job, want a better job or are seeking job training.

It has a Web site - www.mwejobs.com - that on an annual basis has about 3,500 job listings ranging from professional on down, said Shanon Wolf, labor exchange administrator for the state Division of Workforce Development.

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"Our concern is they get a job. We don't care whether it's literally through us or as a result of something they learned (here)," Wolf said of the Job Center.

At the Job Center, job-seekers can use computers to check the Internet for jobs, with an employee available to answer questions.

Certain computers are used exclusively to prepare rsums and people can fill out applications at the center for submission to some employers.

The center has representatives who work with veterans, people 55 and older, those with disabilities, those trying to get off welfare and get jobs, and younger job-seekers 16 to 24 years old.

"Our primary objective is to connect them to a job opening or give them some basic refreshers in job search skills," Wolf said.

Those who might not be ready to start a job immediately can receive training at a partner agency, the Western Maryland Consortium.

Many who go to the consortium lack the skills needed for a job or have an inadequate education, said Peter Thomas, executive director at the consortium.

At the consortium, people can receive help earning a GED, take basic education refresher courses, learn computer skills or receive skill training in a variety of fields.

A scarcity of funding recently, however, has limited the services the consortium can offer.

"We're still continuing to focus on dislocated workers, those who have lost their jobs due to plant closings," Thomas said.

At the Job Center, employers can post their job openings for free and services to job-seekers are offered at no cost.

Most of the jobs on its Web site are with private employers, but officials at the center can show people interested in obtaining government jobs how to connect to federal and state job sites.

The federal government's official job Web site is www.usajobs.com and typically has more than 20,000 job listings throughout the country.

Both Wolf and Thomas said the job outlook for Washington County appears to be positive, given the number and diversity of businesses in the county.

More common job opportunities are in the fields of transportation and warehousing; customer service; manufacturing/production; service jobs in the retail and restaurant industries and in health-care fields.

Services at the Job Center are offered to anyone, with no income or residency requirements.

Only Washington County residents can take advantage of the financial assistance training offered by Western Maryland Consortium.

A two-day, 10-hour workshop offered by the Job Center is required for anyone who applies for unemployment benefits, but also is open to everyone. It covers the emotional aspects of losing a job, as well as such topics as interviewing skills, writing effective rsums and cover letters and filling out job applications.

No matter what one's situation, Wolf said, the One-Stop Job Center is a good place to begin searching for a job.

"We get a lot of comments like, 'I wish I had stopped here sooner,'" she said.

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