Workforce Alliance to open in new location Monday

06/07/2014 7:28 AM

06/08/2014 7:23 AM

The Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, the city’s main place to search for a job or for job skills, is opening its new location Monday.

The alliance, which left 150 N. Main late last year after the gas was turned off, will open at 2021 N. Amidon, Suite 1100, in New Leaf Plaza, the former Marina Lakes shopping center being renovated at the southwest corner of 21st and Amidon.

It will open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday. Hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

The newly renovated 16,000-square-foot center will include services for job seekers and for businesses seeking workers.

Job seekers to the center will find dozens of computers, plus a copier, telephone and fax machine, to do job searches and work on resumes.

Other space includes offices for job counseling, computer labs for basic word processing and spreadsheet training, a lab for work-skills testing and a large room for seminars.

The alliance was based in 50,000 square feet in the old Commerce Bank headquarters at 150 N. Main for nearly a decade. But the building, which was managed by Real Development, didn’t have enough parking and started to go downhill in recent years, said executive director Keith Lawing. At one point the elevators stopped working.

Lawing said the agency left shortly after he discovered that the gas was turned off during a job fair in October because the bill hadn’t been paid.

“And there wasn’t a plan for how to get it back on,” Lawing said.

The agency found temporary space – although cramped – on East First Street for some of its job search operations, and dispersed some of its staff to other locations in the area.

The new space allows the agency to pull some of the dispersed staff back into one place, Lawing said. The alliance will also keep about 8,000 square feet of office space on the eighth floor of the Garvey Center for administrative staff, including Lawing.

Katie Givens, the alliance’s director of operations, said the location at 150 N. Main saw about 150 to 300 people a day. The number of visitors dipped sharply after the move to the temporary location, but should snap back in the new location.

The location in a shopping center and ample free parking – the parking at 150 N. Main was metered on-street parking or $5 for a nearby lot – should make the new location more approachable, Lawing said.

“There’s a lot of life being put back into the intersection, and into this shopping center,” Lawing said.

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