New county office to help the jobless

July 16, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County has leased space in Towson for a new office to help workers whose jobs have been eliminated in getting retraining or finding a new job.

The three-year lease, paid for with $300,437 in federal money, is for 5,833 square feet in the Dulaney Center II building, next to the Sheraton Hotel. The County Council approved the lease July 5, and the center is expected to open in late August.

Services provided will be similar to those offered temporarily to several hundred county workers laid off in February and March 1993.

The difference is that this new office will serve anyone who worked or lives in Baltimore County, not just county employees, said John M. Wasilisin, administrator of the county's Office of Employment and Training.

Mr. Wasilisin said the purpose will be to help people whose skills have become useless because their jobs are obsolete. It is not intended for people with easily marketable skills, such as computer programmers who are out of work but whose skills are in demand.

The clients will have free access to computers, training in job-seeking skills, a phone bank for calling employers and counseling for emotional or financial problems that often occur during unemployment.

The county already offers retraining programs and some help for unemployed workers at its five offices in Dundalk, Eastpoint, Towson, Catonsville and Randallstown. But Mr. Wasilisin said the new operation will centralize services for "one-stop-shopping" and attract more white-collar professionals who may be reluctant to visit the other sites.

All money for the new program comes from the federal government, he said, and the lease can be canceled if the federal funds dry up before the end of three years. The cost is uncertain, he said, because it is unclear how many people will come in and what kind of help they will need.

Some may merely want assistance in composing a resume or to check job listings or to use the center's free phone bank, he said, while others may need weeks of retraining at the county's community colleges, with tuition paid by the federal money.

The center will be staffed by a director, four job counselors and two "job developers," people who contact employers.

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