In western Newfoundland seven such centres are getting the axe, with the provincial government saying it has Advanced Education and Skills offices which will handle the work now being done by the employment assistance centres.
The real concern in the community is that these provincially-run offices may not offer the same kind of help that was being provided to clients of the centres, often known as Employment Readiness Centres.
Sharon Park, executive director with the Community Education Network, the organization which oversees all the centres in western Newfoundland, believes that clients won’t be served as well.
She said often a client needs a lot of help and their confidence bolstered because he or she may be applying for a job for the first time in many years. It takes an investment in time and effort to get them ready for going back to school and/or applying for jobs.
Joan Shea, Advanced Education and Skills minister, said her offices would also be providing some outreach services in lieu of the employment assistance centres being closed, but there are doubts that will take place either.
For many in rural areas, it’s difficult to afford travelling long distances seeking this help, especially since these people are unemployed and have limited funds to work with.
While Shea said the centres were being closed because they are providing a duplication of services that her department is providing, Park was quick to point out that the duplication was created by the minister’s department.
Park said this turn of events could have been avoided if the provincial government had collaborated with the people who already had experience helping adults trying to get back into the workforce.
The irony now is that these people once offering advice will have to use their experience to find jobs for themselves.