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Work Central Program Helps Job Seekers To Be Self-Sufficient

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ROCKY MOUNT — Work Firstis getting people off of welfare and into jobs. A one-of-a-kind program in Rocky Mount is helping people stay on payrolls by providing much needed support.

Angela Mickens is no longer connected to welfare or Work First. She says she is in a real job and would not be there without help from a Work Central office.

"I had interviews and everything. I got my job the same day," she says.

The key difference between the state-run Work Central program and Work First is that clients do not get a check. They get advice and information that can keep them employed and keep them self sufficient.

The office even calls its clients from time to time to offer help.

"We're making the connection," says director Mary Mallory. "If there's resources out in the community that we know about, we'll connect them to those, either through the phone or just giving them the information, and let them make the connection themselves."

The three-month-old office cost less than $100,000 to start, but organizers say it will quickly pay for itself by helping its clients pull their own weight.

"What we want to is be there for these newly employed people, and to make sure that they don't encounter barriers that they cannot overcome," says social services director Hobert Freeman.

The service is available free of charge. Work Central is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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