Article - Office of College Advancement

Career Center to move to Ohlone

Program offers Web access, resume editing and referrals for vocational retraining

By Todd R. Brown, Staff writer.

Sunday, January 6, 2008—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

NEWARK—Soon, job-seekers looking for help at the Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center will find it in an unfamiliar location.

After closing for a week Monday, the center will reopen Jan. 14 at the new Ohlone College campus, 39399 Cherry St. in Newark, a few blocks from the current Balentine Drive office.

Few people were exploring their options there Thursday as stormy weather blasted in. One man checked his e-mail for job query responses, while another browsed engineer ads.

Yet while the trials of the dot-com implosion are mostly past, the tribulations of the mortgage meltdown are just beginning, and more job seekers may be dropping by the center this year.

"Within Alameda County in general, a lot of financial institutions have gone under," said Tina Dodson, the center's interim director. "Those people are looking for new industries to work in. Even in this building, lots of mortgage companies are gone."

The national unemployment rate in December hit a two-year high of 5 percent. In November, the county's jobless rate was 4.9 percent, but California overall had 5.6 percent unemployment. Local statistics for December are due Jan. 18.

"It's not as rosy as the government tries to paint it," Dodson said, explaining that the jobless rate does not reflect the total number of job-seekers. "Unemployment runs out in six months. We have people that have been out of work for two years. So they fell out of that equation a long time ago."

The center offers a range of help, from Internet access for online classifieds, to resume editing, to referrals forvocational retraining through Mission Valley ROP and other programs.

As part of Ohlone College, the federally funded center also helps students focus their studies in a particular field and search for openings.

"Some of them don't know how to write a resume," said Yanni Zeng, student services specialist at the Newark center who speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. Once they figure that out, she said, resume paper is available by request.

With "registered nurse" listed by the state's Employment Development Department as the fastest growing job around, it makes sense for the center to move to the new Ohlone campus, which will offer state-of-the-art nurse training.

Employers also can enlist the center to host recruiting events.

"It's a two-way street," said Mary K. Lim, who started as a volunteer and now works there part-time. "They can find really good employees here."

Those who aren't sure where to set out professionally or who are looking for a fresh start can attend a career assessment session from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the new location. Attendees will be quizzed on what they would like to do and will consider how to get there.

"It's not based on skills," Dodson said. "We like them to not just base it on the current job market. Don't rule it out because you don't know how to do it."

Call the Newark center at 510-742-2323, or its sister center at 39155 Liberty St. in Fremont at 510-794-3669, or visit http://www.tricitiesonestop.com.

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