Fox Cities Workforce Development Center in Menasha open to in-person visits by appointment
MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - After nearly a year closed to the public, the Fox Cities Job Center is open to in-person appointments.
But the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board hasn’t seen too many people taking advantage yet.
“We’re seeing about 5 to 10 people a week in the scheduled appointments. And most individuals are coming to file for their unemployment insurance or do the registration on Job Center of Wisconsin, which is the Department of Workforce Development’s website,” said Board CEO Anthony Snyder.
Snyder believes it could be in part that people have gotten used to virtual services, but also thinks many might still be cautious in the pandemic.
“I do suspect that once somebody announces we’ve achieved full herd immunity and that there’s enough people vaccinated that we will likely return to pre-pandemic levels at our job centers,” said Snyder.
Plus, while the unemployment rate is back to pre-pandemic numbers and job opportunities are available, he doesn’t think those numbers are telling the whole story.
“The unemployment numbers I see that are at pre-pandemic levels I don’t think reflect the full scope of the number of people who are currently not working,” said Snyder.
Snyder anticipates that the extra unemployment benefits right now are allowing people to stay out of the workforce, especially if they have kids to care for at home.
But that won’t last forever.
“When the extra money runs out, the extra federal money runs out for unemployment, I suspect we’ll see those people back at the job center,” said Snyder.
Ultimately the pandemic did not impact the Fox Valley population as much as he anticipated.
“I was expecting us to be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of layoffs very similar to what we experienced in the Great Recession 10, 12 years ago, and it just didn’t happen,” said Snyder.
Though, he notes, the hospitality and service industry in particular took a hard hit. “The servers, the bartenders, hotel room attendants and things like that,” said Snyder.
Snyder thinks, of anyone, those would be the work populations looking for a change.
“If you were working at a restaurant for example that closing margin didn’t reopen for several weeks or several months later, and then you were thrust into a position of having to work an eight-hour shift among dozens of people who’ve been potentially have the COVID infection - I can imagine there are a lot of people who said, ‘This isn’t for me,’” said Snyder.
He hopes that if people are looking for a change, or if they do find themselves reentering the workforce, they’ll head to their local job center.
“That’s what we’d encourage everyone to do whether they’re unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed,” said Snyder. “If they just had enough, they can call our job center or any job centers in the state schedule an appointment and we can do an assessment on you, we can determine what you skills are.”
To schedule an appointment at the Menasha Job Center, call 920-929-3900.
To find a job center near you, visit wisconsinjobcenter.org.
If interested in learning about what opportunities are currently available, the Fox Valley Workforce Development board is holding a drive-through job fair on April 22 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, 120 Jackson St.
The board is also hosting a virtual hiring event May 6. People can register for that event HERE.
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