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April 29, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Columbia’s unemployment rate stayed below state and national levels every month for the past 10 years. But for those still struggling with the job hunt, these Columbia resources can help.
Columbia Area Career Center
Run by Columbia Public Schools, this center offers resources for high schoolers, professionals and people working on their GEDs.
This faith-based nonprofit helps ex-offenders find jobs after being incarcerated. “You’d be surprised how many of them want to work but can’t,” Director Carolyn King says.
People over 50 can turn to this national resource for help finding jobs in their communities. “Their unemployment is running out, and they lack the skills to compete,” Employment and Training Coordinator Susan Streit says.
Unemployed can come here for career counseling, job placement assistance and classes. “They can walk in the door Monday and begin a 40-hour class,” Director of Marketing Brenda Overkamp says.
Temp jobs can become permanent, so some go through agencies hoping to get a foot in the door. “It’s a try before you buy,” District Manager Allen Jennings says. This organization offers temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire employment help.
Labor Ready Inc.
Clients here are often placed in temporary jobs in manufacturing, hospitality, construction and landscaping. “We have a vision companywide to be the No. 1 provider of blue-collar staffing,” Branch Manager Kerry Kalvig says.
Missouri Career Center
This office helps with job searches, career resources, skill development, résumés and cover letters. “We assess their skills, background and training, see what jobs are available and help them with that process,” Supervisor Bryan Barnes says.
Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
People with mental or physical disabilities can get help overcoming the barriers keeping them from employment. Offerings include job coaching, application assistance and interview training.
Youth Empowerment Zone
Focusing on at-risk youth, this nonprofit helps prepare those ages 14 to 24 for jobs and interviews. “We do all the things you need to get a job and keep it,” Program Director Ayesha Harmon says.