The vice president of policy and compliance for Muncie-based Alliance for Strategic Growth Inc. says the organization is looking to increase efficiency in providing career services in Blackford County. Joe Frank tells Inside INdiana Business the county’s WorkOne office will close in mid-March in favor of a more strategic approach with the help of community partners.
Frank says ASG Inc., which provides work force development services for nine eastern Indiana counties, is moving away from the traditional brick-and-mortar locations to a more fluid service at various co-located public settings throughout Blackford County, such as libraries, YMCAs and other community organizations. He says they’re looking to create more of a one-stop experience for customers.
"From a strategic standpoint, that enables us to target virtual services and overcome some transportation barriers for people as well," said Frank. "So not only is it just being more prudent with dwindling dollars, it’s also meeting folks in their community to assist them with career services."
Frank says the ultimate goal is to be able to serve more customers in more areas in a shorter amount of time, something they’ve already seen from testing the new system on a limited pilot basis. One of the main reasons for the transition, according to Frank, is a decrease in federal funding for career services.
"The states that are faring worse economically (with) higher unemployment rates get more funding and once your economic situation starts to improve, they start pulling back the dollars for other states that are doing worse," Frank said. "This is happening throughout the state in different regions. We’re getting reduced funding from the federal government due to our economic improvement."
The organization is currently looking to find partners that can address issues, such as transportation and high-speed Internet access, facing the people in need of career services. Once the new service is up and running, Frank says people can go to the ASG Inc. website to find out the dates, times and locations for where the organization will be in their area.