The Evolution of PA CareerLink & PCLC
During the 2008 recession, the PA CareerLink in Perry County closed. This left employees and individuals in need of services with nowhere to go. Because the objectives of CareerLink and the Perry County Literacy Council were so aligned with an emphasis on job training & employment, The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board decided that CareerLink services would be offered through PCLC.
According to PCLC Executive Director Kathleen Bentley, “Rural counties don’t have many services, and our residents value the resources we provide. So, when the opportunity came along to blend our services with PA CareerLink, we embraced it.”
PCLC recognized that real people often face real barriers to employment that go beyond literacy, learning job skills, and credentialing. As PCLC’s approach to employment and literacy evolved, they began to address more of the barriers to getting a better job and becoming self-sufficient, approaching the individual more holistically. This human-centered service delivery model addresses the host of obstacles to employment that include education, literacy, rent, utilities, phones, food, transportation, and more.
PCLC sourced private grants to help eliminate the many barriers facing jobseekers. Through the years, they continued to collect data supporting a more human-centered approach to employment and self-sufficiency.
In 2017, PCLC leveraged their data to propose a social work office within their organization. Having a social work office onsite provides additional opportunities and resources to individuals and further embeds a human-centered approach to employment services. Following a three-year pilot program, PCLC is now a line item in the Perry County Commissioner’s budget – funding a social worker on their team.
“Having a social work office in a PA CareerLink location allows us to address the full range of challenges people face. Everything we do is in support of helping people overcome obstacles on their path to success. Self-sufficiency is the endgame,” said Bentley.
How a Local PA CareerLink Benefits Perry County Residents:
- Work individually with a job employment specialist in-person or remotely
- Employment & Training Programs – including training for certifications for Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDL) and Heavy Equipment training
- Apply for Benefits through the Department of Human Services
- Unemployment Claims – Get help filing an initial claim
- Workers’ Compensation Benefits
- Support for Dislocated Workers – those who have been terminated or laid off
- Support for individuals re-entering the community from the criminal justice system
- Retraining for those re-entering the workforce
- Disability Services – Rehabilitation services to help you prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment
A Human-Centered Approach to Employment and Self-Sufficiency
PCLC has been providing free educational resources and training to residents for over 30 years. As their approach to supporting an individual’s self-sufficiency evolved, they developed partnerships and resources that support various needs from 16 different providers – all through the PCLC office in Newport.
Services and resources available through PCLC include but are not limited to: adult education, testing and literacy services, employment and training, workforce support through PA CareerLink, ID services, health insurance assistance, housing services, domestic violence services, addiction services, transportation, childcare, financial and health literacy and more.
The mission of the Perry County Literacy Council (PCLC) is to provide educational programs for Perry County residents and their families that will enable them to function better as productive, responsible citizens. All programs are 100% free. Instruction is tailored to the individual’s needs and delivered via one-to-one tutoring and small classes. Serving 125+ Perry County residents per year, the Perry County Literacy Council has served Perry County for more than 30 years, moving people from dependency to self-sufficiency with credentials that support family-sustaining wages and benefits. To learn more about PCLC, visit their website.