True story: A Las Vegas woman, working in human trafficking, wanted to change her life and get a legitimate job.
Trouble was, she didn’t know where to turn.
Somehow, about eight weeks ago, she found her way into Workforce Connections’ One-Stop Career Center.
“Her self-esteem was at rock-bottom,” Executive Director Ardell Galbreth said. “I don’t know how she found her way here, but she did.”
Once inside the center, the woman connected with the office manager and service providers, who hooked her up with the right people to move her closer to her goal of getting a job. With their help, the woman completed her GED certificate, honed her computer skills and received job interview coaching.
“Just recently she wrote a note saying how pleased she was, how great she felt, and that she had a job where she’s doing clerical work. Prior to her coming in and accessing the services, to her, she had no hope,” Galbreth said. “None at all.”
Often, he said, Galbreth tells his staff that they may be someone’s last hope.
Workforce Connections opened its 8,000-square-foot One-Stop Career Center at 6330 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 150 in late June, with Galbreth at the helm. About 25 staff members work for him, helping serve Clark, Nye, Lincoln and Esmeralda counties. The center sees upward of 200 people each day, a number that only keeps increasing. When it opened, the center attracted about 60 people daily.
The center houses several agencies all working toward getting locals employed. They include Goodwill of Southern Nevada, Bridge Counseling Associates, Olive Crest and FIT Re-Entry Initiative.
On Wednesday, the One-Stop Career Center is hosting its first Nevada Day Super Hiring Event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local businesses with open positions will be onsite conducting job interviews and a resource fair will help provide help for job seekers.
“It’s something that we think this area needs. It hasn’t happened comprehensively for a long time,” Galbreth said.
The career center is open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It offers job seekers one-on-one career guidance and planning, job search assistance, résumé development and interviewing skills, computer access, workshops, training and education. Employers seeking candidates are offered business consultations, training reimbursement, hiring incentives, business seminars and interviewing and meeting space. The services are free to job seekers and hiring employers.
For more information, visit www.nvcareercenter.org.
Focused on his clients, Galbreth said he wants to make sure everyone who walks in the door is treated with the utmost respect and given support.
“Workforce Connections and this One Stop Career Center is for the people,” Galbreth said.
When he’s not helping the community gain employment, Galbreth is an avid Star Trek fan with a memorabilia collection that includes a life-size Captain Kirk.
“Gene Roddenberry, who was the creator of ‘Star Trek,’ was so far ahead of his time,” Galbreth said.
Each morning he wakes up around 4 a.m. to run 4 miles, and on the weekends he serves as chairman on the board of deacons at Unity Baptist Church. Galbreth also can be found spending time with his 4-year-old granddaughter, Sydney.
Question: How great is the need for the agency’s services?
Answer: Tremendous. With the highest unemployment rate in the country and the hard economic hit that we’ve taken, the need is tremendous. A lot of individuals need to retool their skills and do something a little different than they did three, four, five years ago.
Question: To what do you attribute the exponential increase in clients the center is seeing?
Answer: The need, and the services under one roof, there’s a mixture. … I think people feel as though they can come here and they can get a comprehensive service package that they could not get in some other place.
Question: What service is being used more than any other?
Answer: They’re tapping in on our resource center, the computers. A lot of people still don’t have computers or Internet access at home. This is a good place to come, not only to access the Internet, but they can also get guidance as to how to complete their résumés, how to prepare their résumés, or how to do a quality job search.
Question: What are some of the challenges here?
Answer: We don’t have enough resources and funding to ensure ongoing employment and training services to fulfill the need. We never will because the need is so great. … Also, there’s a challenge to make sure there’s an array of training services available. And (the services) must be tied to the demands of businesses here in Southern Nevada. It doesn’t do us or anyone any good to train an individual in an area that at the end of that training, there’s no employment available.
Question: Has the government shutdown affected Workforce Connections?
Answer: Just a little bit. For an individual to be eligible there’s an array of things they have to validate. For example, they might need to validate citizenship with a Social Security card. Or alien registration documentation, that’s run by the federal government. Down the road, if this shutdown lingers past the end of November, it’s going to be awfully harsh. We’re working on prior-years funding, which lasts through the end of November. If we don’t have access to government funding at the end, it’s going to be critically difficult for those who really need employment training services to obtain them. It’s just not going to happen.
Question: How did you get into this line of work?
Answer: I’ve had an Air Force career and after I got out I worked with the state of Nevada. It was not something I planned all along. … Once I got into it I had no idea what would happen. I was fortunate to have had previous experience writing regulations at the Air Force level, and writing training plans. The transition was very easy. Writing policies and working with different agencies and officials has pretty much been my line of work for most of my adult life.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.