- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - When the Kentucky Career Center opens in Covington, it will be more than just a new unemployment office.

The Kentucky Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1kwhryS) reports the center will offer a new approach to finding jobs. Officials say they plan to connect potential employees directly with employers through a variety of means and will offer free resources to help ensure that occurs.

Services at the center will be geared to meet the needs of eight counties in northern Kentucky: Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Owen and Pendleton. The $4.8 million building is slated to open in the next month and will provide services to job seekers and employers. Supporters hope it also helps strengthen the economy.

“This is the first in the state that is really designed around functionality. When the person coming in - whether they’re someone seeking employment or a business looking for services - they come in and are given all the services that they need,” said Lisa Cooper, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, which will run the center.

Center Director Jason Ashbrook estimates the facility will serve about 2,000 people each month, up from the 1,000 to 1,500 now served.

Job seekers will be treated like customers and offered help with things like drafting a resume and learning new skills that will make them more marketable.

The center will also offer resources to employers, such as allowing them to post jobs and giving them personalized help in finding qualified workers.

“We serve a lot of individuals, but if we aren’t meeting local employers’ needs we aren’t getting the job done. That’s a really unique way of thinking,” said Barbara Stewart, director for workforce development at the area development district.

The center’s partnership with area businesses - and its mission to serve those companies - makes the center distinctive.

“There was a definite shift in strategy to make sure this was supported by businesses. Because on the opposite side, this is a resource for the business owner, where they can very quickly look through applicants, post a notice for a job, or conduct interviews,” said David Fleischer, an executive at Toyota and former chair of the workforce investment board.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com

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