UMD Afterlife: Duluth Workforce Center
By Ellie Gerst
Students nearing graduation may be feeling overwhelmed with certain aspects of the job search or struggling to find employment.
The Duluth Workforce Center is a resource in downtown Duluth that offers free counseling, classes and workshops that help people build the skills needed to find and secure employment opportunities.
“The Workforce Center is a resource for anyone that is looking for a job or perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the job process,” said job counselor and developer, Betsy Hill.
Whether it’s attending a workshop, asking a job counselor questions, or using the computers, printers, or fax machines, the center’s services are all free and available to anyone.
“We cater to what we call the universal customer,” Hill said. “Anyone that walks in the door can use our computers for job searches and can take the classes and workshops to pick up a few resume writing skills or interviewing tips.”
The Workforce Center is part of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Because of federal funding, the center is able to provide grants for eligible, low-income students to help pay tuition.
“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is a federally funded employment and training program,” Hill explained. “The purpose of it is to help people who qualify as low-income to access marketable skills. We have guidelines as far as what types of employment occupations we can help with . . . but we can help pay for their tuition while they’re going to school.”
The Workforce Center is also involved in organizing community events, such as the Northland Job Fair which will take place on April 12 at the DECC.
“Last year we had over 120 employers there,” Hill said. “So we do some job fair preparation classes for that.”
Some of these classes include job fair prep, building your resume and cover letter, and interview preparation.
“The job search can be really frustrating,” Hill said. “Coming to the Workforce Center and getting some of these tips and ideas is going to shorten the amount of time it takes for you to look for work. The more thoughtful you can be about what you really want to do can help with your motivation to actually do it.”
The calendar of workshops can be found online at the center’s website: www.mn.gov/deed/duluthworkshops