GREEN BAY (NBC26) — The Brown County Job Center has been closed for almost a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, it's finally reopened.
“We have all the safety protocols in place and we’re ready to serve," said Matt Valiquette, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board. “This is a human service field, workforce development. It’s not a linear solution by any stretch of the imagination. This is very complex, so we wanna make time to understand the needs of the customer and make sure that we develop a strategy that’s appropriate for them.”
The current unemployment rates might be surprising; they’re very close to pre-pandemic rates, said Valiquette. There are still a lot of jobs out there.
“These are all jobs that have meaningful employment," he said. "With career opportunities, paying a family sustaining wage."
One industry with the biggest demand for hiring is manufacturing.
“Literally every day I have companies contacting me about trying to find talent and not being able to find it," said Ann Franz, Executive Director of NEW Manufacturing Alliance. "Having that facility open I think is really critical to us getting past this pandemic and getting people back to work.”
Now is a great time for people to reimagine their career, said Franz, even if they may have never considered something like manufacturing before.
“ I think a lot of people think it’s a boring, dull, dark, dirty dingy job," she said. "And it’s anything but.”
The center can help job seekers see which of their skills transfer and also support them through tuition assistance.
“Right now, we have money to spend in training," said Valiquette. "We’re really encouraging folks who are interested in furthering their education to come see us.”
For now, the job center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's by appointment only; you can call (920) 930-6570 to set up a time to come in.