Announcement regarding EDD staffing sparks worry at employment center in Porterville

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There are roughly 2,000 people per month that are using the services at the Employment Connection Center in Porterville. (KFSN)

There are roughly 2,000 people per month that are using the services at the Employment Connection Center in Porterville, but the site manager here tells me they're not closing their doors. However, there are five employees there that are staffed through EDD and they are being relocated.

The state's Employment Development Department plans to relocate its only staff members in Porterville sparked concern whether existing services will be available after February 16, 2018.

Overseen by the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County, employment connection provides assistance to local businesses and job seekers.

"Training both classrooms and on the job training, job readiness, activities like workshops on interview skills, resume preparation. How to keep a job, things like that," said Workforce Development Assistant Director Thompson.

Currently, Employment Development Department staff is on hand to answer questions regarding unemployment, disability, paid family leave and facilitate workshops like this for migrant seasonal farmworkers. The state has yet to comment on why these employees are being relocated.

Thompson says despite losing their five EDD staffed positions, they plan to carry out existing services.

With their staff of 30, though there will be a transition period. Thompson says he is hopeful services like training, employment, and career advancement opportunities won't be interrupted.

"We've talked about ways to better or continue to connect customers with unemployment insurance representatives and how we can do that," said Thompson.

Thompson says they have been strategizing with EDD managers to cross train employment connection staff but at this point, nothing is set in stone.

According to the California Employment Development Department, Tulare County's 2017 unemployment rate 9.4 percent down one percent from the year prior.

There are four locations of the employment connection center in Tulare County.

In a statement, EDD said, "The EDD has not made a conclusive decision to remove our presence from the Porterville office. Today, local EDD management informed staff of the potential to relocate them to an alternative site. However, we have not made a conclusive decision and will not be doing so until we contact the local elected officials to discuss these matters and pursue the best option that will meet the needs of the community that we serve."
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