The Kansasworks Workforce Center in Dodge City is officially open to employers and job candidates.

     A ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning united representatives from local businesses and organizations to celebrate the expanded hours of the Workforce Center, located at 2308 First Ave. The event was co-hosted by the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corp.


    The Kansasworks Workforce Center in Dodge City is officially open to employers and job candidates.
     A ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning united representatives from local businesses and organizations to celebrate the expanded hours of the Workforce Center, located at 2308 First Ave. The event was co-hosted by the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corp.
    The center, which offers many programs to enhance employer recruitment and employee retention, was downscaled last August and was only open two days a week as a result.
    It has slowly built back up and is now operating at full force. It's open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with three full-time staff members.
    "It's extremely important that this be reopened. It provides a one-stop shop for employers and employees," said Eddie Estes, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents Technical Education Authority and the president of the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association.
    KansasWorks supervisor Jean Dizmang of the Kansas Department of Commerce said one of the main goals of the organization is to help people "work themselves into a better position with better pay."
    The workforce center accomplishes this task by offering many free services to employers and prospective employees.
    People seeking employment, career and skill assessments and job training are encouraged to come by the center. Resume preparation, cover letter writing, interviewing tips and help matching individual job skills with career opportunities are available.
    The workforce center staff also hosts job fairs, meets with potential employees and employers one-on-one and lists job openings on kansasworks.com.
    Dizmang said Kansasworks does not place people in temporary positions. Instead, its purpose is to place people in part-time and full-time permanent positions that match the needs of both the employee and the employer.
    Career counseling and skill assessments can help applicants determine if they want to continue with their previous career path or go into a different field with higher job availability.
    The center communicates with employers and local businesses to help them fill much-needed positions. With local unemployment rates down, Dizmang said there is a high demand in many fields.
    People are currently needed for agricultural jobs as well as work in the beef-packing plants and the oil and gas industry. Electricians, construction workers, welders and CDL drivers are also in high demand.
    With the upcoming arrival of a casino in Ford County, Kansasworks is taking steps to prepare for the positions that will need to be filled.
    Dizmang said the agency's offices across the state do not work alone, instead partnering with businesses to meet the needs of the community and help promote economic growth and development.
    One partner, Dodge City Community Colleges, is already adding courses to educate students about possible career opportunities at the casino.
    Dizmang said this is only one way the city and state are working together.
    "We connect with partners to do the job we're here to do," she said.
   
Reach Cherise Forno at (620) 408-9931 or e-mail her at cheriseforno@dodgeglobe.com.