Workforce Development Center relocates within North St. Paul


Ramsey County’s Workforce Development Center has relocated to 2266 Second St. N. in North St. Paul.

Ramsey County’s Workforce Development Center, an organization that primarily helps people find jobs, had to discontinue its services in North St. Paul when the lease holder closed its location near the intersection of Highway 36 and McKnight Road. 

Fortunately, the service center will still be able to serve the same residents from its new location in downtown North St. Paul. 

The new Workforce Development Center building opened for business April 3. The center employs about 50 people who provide job seekers and businesses with employment and training services. 

When the former location closed, the organization’s leadership viewed it as an opportunity to intentionally relocate and design a welcoming space tailored to their clients’ needs, according to Patricia Brady, director of workforce solutions and the executive director of the Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County.

Center staff examined 20 locations before deciding on the building at 2266 Second St. N., and Brady confirms, “It’s in the right place.” 

The former location was a very high traffic site, she says, so the new location, only about a mile away, will allow the same clients to be able to continue utilizing the services. The new Second Street location is near popular roads such as Highway 36, McKnight Road and Seventh Street East in addition to being only one block away from the high-frequency Metro Transit bus route 64. 

Brady adds there are attractions in North St. Paul that people visit anyway, such as libraries and shopping centers, which make the Workforce Development Center a convenient stop for clients.

In an effort to create a space that helps clients be more successful, Brady says staff are taking advice directly from the people they serve. In the weeks ahead, community members will be invited to participate in activities — such as the naming of common rooms — that will facilitate closer connections to the new center.

“We have five interview rooms, and what we’re hoping is that the communities that we’re serving will help us understand what kind of décor makes them feel more relaxed,” Brady says. “Then we would be asking them to help us design and to name that space, so when they come in … the space itself reflects the communities that we’re serving.”

 

Whole-family approach

Although the location was selected to serve the same residents as the previous location, workforce development staffers are also hoping to see new faces in the new building.

The Workforce Development Center is for “anyone who is unemployed or is looking for a better job,” Brady says. “Anything that is related to a job search that leads to a sustainable wage, that’s the work that we’re here to provide.”

The service center includes public areas for presentations and trainings; several private offices for employment counseling and job interviews; and dedicated areas for employers and trade and tech schools to host weekly engagements with job seekers.

Brady explains the center is designed to provide a unique “whole-family approach,” involving not just programming for a wide age range, but also family friendly spaces. 

For example, the center offers dedicated space for young people aged 14 to 24, which includes technology and materials that provide connections to employment, skills building and educational opportunities. 

Brady says the center’s goal for youth aged 14 to 16 is for them to remain in high school or get their GED, if they have already dropped out. Service center staff are available to help young adults ages 18 to 24 find first jobs, summer jobs or supplemental work depending on their situation. 

Additional programming is targeted towards parents who want to create a better financial situation for their family, and Brady says that short-term training can often be helpful to get people to the next step in their careers. 

Some classes offered on-site include English as a second language, mathematics and customer service. Counselors are also on hand to help teach resume writing and interviewing skills. The new building has video screens throughout the office, which will provide current information on programs.

“We look at the fact that in order for the family to be successful long term we have to consider that there are children in the family,” Brady says, explaining the service center offers resources to connect parents with childcare if that is holding them back from job opportunities.

Parents who visit the center will also benefit from the center’s child-friendly waiting room, where toys and books are available for children to entertain themselves while their parents receive career counseling.

“We just really try to have an environment that says ‘families are welcome here and we will serve the entire family’,” Brady says.

 

College links

Another program the Workforce Development Center offers is targeted toward people who have been laid-off from their normal work and may need to upgrade their skills. 

Brady explains the workforce center partners with Century College, St. Paul College and Metro State University to help clients seeking long-term training, so they can earn the certificate or degree that they need to take the next step in their careers.

Brady says the center also plans to host many events aimed at connecting clients with area employers and representatives of area colleges.

Many of the programs offered by the Workforce Center are for clients who meet income-based eligibility requirements. Admittance into one of these programs allows clients to access additional services provided by the center, but Brady is quick to add that anyone, regardless of income, is welcome to come into the center and utilize the computer services or make copies of resumes.

The Workforce Development Center in North St. Paul is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached at 651-266-9890.

 

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

 

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