Things got a whole lot easier for employers looking to fill positions and those seeking job opportunities with the grand opening of the Rimbey Regional Employment Centre last week.
Located in the Neighbourhood Place building, the intent of the new centre is to provide a venue whereby those seeking employment will have access to vital tools such as computers, fax machines, photocopiers, telephones and leads to job opportunities, while simultaneously providing local employers with potential workers.
“We’re open for job seekers to help them with resumes, job search techniques, career planning and we have a job board with postings. We also feature an employer corner for local businesses,” said Shelly Smith, employment career councillor and program coordinator. “I’m hoping eventually if there’s enough need, to have resume writing workshops and career planning workshops. I just have to find out now if there are a lot of people interested but I think we could try one on a trial basis and see.”
Originally opened on June 8 for the new Best Western hotel’s job fair, the centre is funded through the provincial government with financial assistance from the federal government and was also awarded a two-year contract through the Ability and Career Employment Services.
The hours of the new centre are from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. while closed from 1 to 2 p.m. to allow the public to visit through the noon hour, from Mondays to Thursdays. On Fridays, Smith said she’ll be out in the community visiting employers with information on the services available.
“I spend that time in the community to meet with employers. We want to also promote it for employers as well so they can use our services, like with the recent job fair for the Best Western hotel,” Smith said. “As well, if they’re hiring staff and don’t want to be bothered with people coming in with resumes, I can collect those for them and help them with interviewing, so we’re hoping to get employers involved.”
Smith said since the opening, she has received plenty of positive feedback from the public and has seen more and more visits each day. But despite the global economic downturn, she was also quick to add that there are many employment opportunities available, the trick is finding them.
“Actually, a lot of employers are advertising on-line. I have four pages of web sites from employers offering jobs,” Smith said. “A lot of employers are not advertising in newspapers and I’m finding there are lots of jobs on-line, so that’s what I’m hoping to help people with is to look at different ways of looking for work because there still is work out there, it’s just a different way of looking for it.”
With a radius of approximately 50 kilometres, Smith said the centre has already fielded inquiries from Bentley and Winfield about the services they offer, all of which are free of charge.
“Obviously it’s a great initiative. It’s going to have a positive impact on connecting people looking for work and potential employers right here in Rimbey and surrounding area so every chance you get to invest in creating employment and making those connections is a good thing for everybody,” said Wetaskiwin Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins who was on hand for the grand opening.
“The reality is when unemployment goes up, that’s not a good thing so anything we can do to make good, modest but strategic investments in keeping people employed and giving people options is a positive step,” he added. “There are jobs that are out there. Alberta is well positioned. There has been some downturns in the area of course, particularly in the natural gas sector, but there’s still a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude here and Albertans are looking for those opportunities and that’s why this centre here – a local centre looking after local needs – is so invaluable.”
Also on hand for the grand opening was Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins who said the centre will be beneficial for both Rimbey and the region.
“Once again it’s great news for Rimbey to have this employment centre here to help people transition from one job to another or maybe from one career to another,” he said. “The federal and provincial governments are working together to guide people into these new areas and it’s great for Rimbey and great for central Alberta.”
Prins said the economic health and development of rural areas is vital and added, “it’s where things really happen.” In particular, he said agriculture, oil and gas, forestry and mining are all key contributors to the economic stability of the entire province.
“Rural Alberta is very important, always has been and will be in the future of the development of this province,” he said. “I think people living in rural communities need all the assistance that they can get to make it through these difficult times and to prosper into the future. This is all about the quality of life for Albertans, especially rural Alberta.”
The Rimbey Regional Employment Centre is located at 4907 49th Street.