As of Jan. 1, 2012, legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett requiring unemployment compensation (UC) claimants to register with CareerLink to verify they are actively searching for work via the PA CareerLink system in order to continue receiving benefits will take effect. With the law's enactment, Pennsylvania will be the last state in the nation to adopt the work search stipulation.
With the Elk County CareerLink having recently completed the move from 301 Depot St. into its new offices at 245 Depot St. on Oct. 3, Thomas Bogacki, a CareerLink administrator, said that with its new location, CareerLink will continue to provide the same employment and training services it previously offered, but will be doing so with added resources. Bogacki said that as a result of the move, CareerLink will be able to handle a greater volume of people "coming through the door."
He added that currently, four to five thousand people come through Elk County CareerLink's doors each month, and many more visit and register through the company's website. He said he expects the numbers to rise after the law takes effect in the new year.
"One of the things this building has different than the other one, this building has a new, much larger computer lab where people are able to do resume-writing workshops and things like that. It's a much larger computer lab than we had before down the street. Conference room can accommodate 30 to 40 people for seminars and things of that nature. We have an additional room that can be separated into two smaller interviewing rooms where employers can conduct interviews right on-site here at the CareerLink," Bogacki said.
Bogacki said that while Elk County suffered as one of the hardest-hit areas in the state by the national recession, it is currently in the midst of an economic upswing. Bogacki said unemployment figures are currently at 6.6 percent as compared with 13 to 14 percent mid-recession.
Bogacki said that when the automotive industry suffered due to the recession in 2008, Elk County, known as "the powdered metal capital of the world," suffered in tandem due to the fact that the region's manufacturing base relies heavily on supplying component parts to automakers. Bogacki said that at the height of the recession, Elk County CareerLink was operating with 45 open and active job orders, down from 165 pre-recession. Bogacki said that currently, available jobs number over 200 and represent both the public and private sectors.
"Almost every major factory and manufacturer are going through us," he said.