Ponoka and District Employment Centre will offer new services to area

CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News

The Ponoka and District Employment Centre is open — again — and the new centre will offer the same services as it did previously — and even a few more.

When Premier Ed Stelmach and the Alberta government made a conscious effort to reduce spending — in some areas — one area that was identified was employment services. The province tendered an open bid request for proposal that required one administration run Lacombe, Ponoka and Rimbey’s employment services.

The tender process complete, Clint McLeod, manager of the Lacombe and District Employment Service centre, was excited to open the doors on the Ponoka centre on April 1.

“We are a full range employment centre that is funded through Alberta Employment and Immigration to provide employment services to Lacombe, which is our main office, to Rimbey, where we will be opening in mid-May. Here in Ponoka, we are here to serve the town and the county,” said McLeod.

He said the new centre that is located at 5002, 52 Street will provide a wide range of services to both employees and employers in the area.

“Anything for job seekers from your basics of resume, job searching, job coaching, job shadowing if need be if they have difficulty with an employer but don’t want to approach the employer, we can mediate on that. Career planning and a lot of workshops from personal hygiene to money management,” said McLeod. “We also have a number of services for employers, we have big job boards and all of our services are free. We have mini job fairs…a program called workplace training where we access to funds from the government, and if they have someone who has a skill gap in a certain area we can provide funding for the training of that person.”

McLeod said the services are valuable and can be used by a multitude of businesses, whether a one-person business or a company that employs hundreds.

Integrated training was another program that McLeod thought can specifically help some workers in Ponoka.

“It’s for people who are having difficulty finding work, whether they are on income support or other government support programs. I know in Ponoka coming out of the Centennial Centre for Brain Injury there is some barriers there that people need to cross,” said McLeod.

The centre will act as a bridge between employee and employer with the hope of finding success for both parties through employment.

One of the first major steps for McLeod is reaching out to the business community.

“Employers are welcome to come in because we are looking for any number of them to open their doors. It’s win-win because they get to train the employee the way they want to,” said McLeod.

The centre will also offer Internet and fax capabilities to give anyone actively seeking employment a chance to get their resume where it needs to go.

Another interesting feature is the centre will pay for training of employees if businesses are prepared to hire them after the training is complete. The program allows people who may have limited funds an opportunity to gain valuable skills while at the same time helps businesses save money on costly training programs.

The office will be open full time and McLeod encouraged anyone who had any questions to come down and check the new centre out.