Job center moves as county and college can’t come to terms


In what could be a temporary move, America’s Job Center of California, a publicly-funded employment center, last month moved its Santa Clarita outlet from College of the Canyons to a location on Soledad St.

The unexpected move came after efforts to simplify the Santa Clarita office’s complicated lineage hit a snag.
“There were a lot of people involved with the local office”, said Jason Crawford, the city’s director of economic development. AJCC “is a federal program, administered by the county, with the city acting as lead agency (which largely meant filing required reports), physically hosted by the college.”

Layers of complexity

To add another layer of complexity, the Santa Clarita office was set up under the auspices of the Antelope Valley job center, based in Palmdale.
“The plan for this year was that the county would contract directly with the college, starting July 1,” Crawford said. “The city would no longer have an official role with the job center, but would remain helpful.”

When the county issued a request for proposals, the college passed at first, “based on some of the language in the RFP,” said Barry Gribbons, deputy chancellor of College of the Canyons. “But the county expressed interest in working with the college, so we started working on an agreement.”
‘Bump in the road’

But in what Gribbons characterized as “a bump in the road,” the county and the college couldn’t agree on terms in time for the new contract to start.
“We couldn’t complete it by July 1, so the Job Center moved on a month-to-month basis under the auspices of Goodwill Southern California” to the Santa Clarita Job Club at 20730 Soledad St., he added.

Discussions between the county and college continue, and Gribbons said there could be significant synergies between the college’s job and career center and credit and non-credit career programs and the services offered by AJCC.

“We see some wonderful benefits for our 20,000 students and AJCC’s 6,000 clients,” he said. He declined to speculate on when an agreement might be reached.

“It’s a complex arrangement, as it involves federal dollars, state statutes and regulations, and county statutes,” Gribbons said.
From the city’s perspective, Crawford said, “regardless of the circumstances of who was running the program, it was important that it continues operations, providing needed services.”

One-stop career shop

The job center is one of a network of one-stop career centers set up across the country as part of the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, since repealed and replaced by the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The centers offer job training and employment services and helps connect job seekers to employers looking for skilled workers.

Those looking for work can hone their résumés, work on interview skills, and get training to gain skills in a new industry.

The AJCC network links all state and local workforce services and resources across the state and country. It partners in California with the Employment Development Department, the California Workforce Development Board, and 49 Workforce Development Boards that administer more than 200 job centers statewide.

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