NC Works working to put people back to work during pandemic

Posted June 23, 2020 7:02 p.m. EDT

— More than a million people in North Carolina have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began, making it a very challenging time to find a new job. But a free program, NC Works, is working to help people find new opportunities.

"Anything that the customers need to help facilitate their move back into employment, that's what our role is," said Brenda Wilkerson, a spokeswoman for Capitol Area Workforce Development.

NC Works has 94 career centers across North Carolina. Although many of them are closed because of the pandemic, they can be reached by phone. Job seekers can also access a database of available jobs and chat with career counselors on the NC Works website.

"The majority of the jobs out there, the job description says you need some kind of customer service acumen," Wilkerson said. "So, for example, our restaurant workers and the hospitality folks who have been really hard hit, they can put those skills to use in other industries."

NC Works also has experts available to provide necessary training or to help update resumes.

"The main thing that we want is to build a strong workforce in our area so that our businesses have the talent that they need," Wilkerson said. "If that requires transitioning people from one industry to another or one occupation to another, then that's kind of what we want to do."

Even people not currently looking for work can use the program to create a backup plan for a new career that may have more stability.

"One of the things we do is to help people figure out either what they are good at or what they want to do and making sure their skills align," she said.

During the last program year, NC Works was able to help more than 30,000 people find new jobs. Half of those were helped directly by NC Works staff, while the remainder used the resources available online to build resumes, search for jobs and take advantage of available workshops.

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