The Woodward News

Local News

March 23, 2014

Program can help adults with job training

A well established but not well known program called the Adult and Dislocated Workers Program could help people who have been laid off, are running out of unemployment benefits or simply lack relevant skills for their area.

The program is paid for with federal dollars through the Workforce Investment Act, said WIA Supervisor, Diedra Williamson. Williamson is located in Enid but her office with the Community Development Support Association (CDSA) handles all 17 counties throughout Northwest Oklahoma.

The Adult/Dislocated Workers program is administered through CDSA, an agency with case workers who office out of the Workforce Oklahoma Center in Woodward, Enid, Guymon, Stillwater and Ponca City, Williamson said.

"Most people know this as the employment center," Williamson said. "So if you think you qualify you would just go in there and ask for one of the CDSA staff members."

While on the face of it the program may seem like many government programs that have a certain amount of "red tape" and hours spent on paperwork, don’t get discouraged, Williamson said. For those who qualify, the program can open doors to a whole new life.

Meet Marguita Carroll.

Recently Carroll was featured as a WIA success story in the Northwest Oklahoma Youth Council Newsletter.

Carroll left the panhandle region and moved to Alaska with her husband several years ago. During that time, she remained at home caring for the family and rearing her children.

Carroll and her husband eventually drifted apart and she found her way back to Hooker, Oklahoma.

 She was determined to make a living for herself and not rely on public assistance, according to her story in the newsletter.

 And yet Carroll found herself struggling to find employment without the skills to fill needed vacancies that provided enough pay to support her, Williamson said.

Through a chance meeting with a former WIA employee, Carroll was sent in the direction of her local Workforce Center in Guymon where she began working with  case workers to plan her training.

Ultimately, Carroll attended truck driver training at American Truck Training in Oklahoma City and she now works full time in the trucking industry.

The program works by connecting CDSA case workers with people who find themselves at a crossroad, Williamson said.  

Maybe they are winding down to the end of their unemployment, are on unemployment but can't find a job that matches their skills or were working full time as a self employed worker and the economy caused them to become unemployed, Williamson said.

"These workers fall into that category of displaced workers," she said. "Marquita came under the category of an "adult worker", which is simply a different category as far as the funding is concerned."

After making contact with a CDSA case worker, Williamson said a client might take several short assessments that allow the case worker to know where a client might stand with regard to reading and math skills.

"You know, we would not want to have a client do all this planning to be say, be a nurse and then find out they really hate math," Williamson said.

After the assessments and time spent in discovery of the client's career interests, training is arranged, Williamson said.

Funds to pay for that training, whether it is training at the local technology center or another type of training such as welding certification or truck driving school, are all handled on a voucher basis, Williamson said.

That means the CDSA arranges payments for the client's training program directly between the CDSA and the school or training center.

"No money ever goes into the hands of the client," Williamson said.

Throughout the program, clients provide grades to their case worker. If the program is a longer course, such as Licensed Practical Nursing, they provide grades every semester.  For a one time graduation, if it is a certification program, they provide a certificate.

"This is just so we can track how successful this program is," Williamson said.

According to Williamson, you might qualify for the Adult/Dislocated Workers Program:

* If you have been laid off or received a lay-off notice from your job.

*  If you are receiving unemployment benefits due to being laid off or losing a job and you’re unlikely to return to a previous occupation.

* If you were self-employed but are now unemployed due to economic conditions or natural disaster.

* If you are a displaced homemaker. The term “displaced homemaker” means an individual who has been providing unpaid services to family members in the home (i.e., stay at home mom or dad)  and who has been dependent on the income of another family member but is no longer supported by that income; and is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

For more information about the WIA Adult and Displaced Workers program, call or email Tonja Jones of the Woodward Workforce Center at 580-256-3308 or tonja.jones@oesc.state.ok.us.

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