The Workforce Mobile Unit is an Innovative Bridge Between Job Seekers and Employers in Montgomery County, Ohio
20 Nov 2020
The Mobile Workforce Unit, a 38-foot Freightliner coach outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, will serve as an extension of the services already available to Montgomery County residents at The Job Center on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard in Dayton, Ohio. It will function as one more innovation to help residents develop the skills and resumes needed for success, as well as one more bridge to bring employers and these job seekers together.
“This vehicle will allow our workforce development professionals to go outside the walls of The Job Center and take our services directly to those who need them,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “We are doing this because we are committed to investing in our residents. This vehicle represents that investment. We want everyone in Montgomery County to have the opportunity for a fulfilling career.”
The Mobile Workforce Unit was funded through a grant from the State of Ohio’s Rapid Response funding, which helps residents get back to work quickly whether they find themselves unemployed due to layoffs, closures, or natural disasters.
It was the tornadoes that stormed through the Dayton area in 2019 that highlighted the need to go out in the community to provide services to people where they live. Staff from the Montgomery County’s Workforce Development Department went out to meet displaced workers and to help them find new positions. However, they often found themselves working at locations with inadequate internet, computers, and private spaces. Marvene Mitchell-Cook, then Director of Montgomery County Workforce Development, now Director of the Office of CARES Act, conceived of the idea for the Mobile Workforce Unit and applied for funding.
The Rapid Response grant funded $386,298 for the vehicle’s construction, explained Garth McLean, Interim Director, Montgomery County Workforce Development.
“The vehicle started out as a rolling chassis,” McLean said. “We customized every piece to fit the needs of our department and our residents. It’s equipped with internet connections, lighting, a PA system, a climate control system, and, of course, the red door to match the Job Services door at The Job Center. This really is a fully self-contained building, outfitted for everything we’ll need to get people into fulfilling careers.”
Through the Mobile Workforce Unit, Montgomery County residents can be connected with job opportunities, grants for job training from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and take part in workshops to help them build resumes, develop new career skills, learn how to search for jobs, and improve interviewing skills.
Currently, the Workforce Mobile Unit is affected by COVID restrictions on gatherings, but the time is being used to secure insurance and train drivers, among other things. Eventually, the Workforce Mobile Unit will be available at events sponsored by their long list of community partners such as the East End Community Center, and at on location hiring events sponsored by businesses.
At the launch ceremony for the Workforce Mobile Unit in September, McLean noticed one more benefit that employers can expect when they bring the 38-foot Freightliner coach to their hiring events. “This vehicle acts like a huge billboard generating interest,” said McLean. “People can’t help themselves. They have to come up and see what is going on.”
The Workforce Mobile Unit is part of Montgomery County’s larger strategic initiative to build a strong base for future economic success and to reach underserved populations in the county. For more information about the services offered through the Workforce Development Department, visit www.thejobcenter.org or call (937) 225-5627.