NEW BRITAIN - U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., joined business leaders, employers and job seekers in New Britain Tuesday afternoon for a discussion about job growth and employment in the city.
Alex Johnson, president and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners, led the discussion, focusing on job training and preparation provided by the New Britain American Jobs Center.
Johnson said that the American Job Center, as well as Capital Workforce Partners, wants to ensure that job seekers are prepared for the types of jobs they want and the business community needs.
“The better we’re able to prepare our workers, the better we’re able to meet the needs of our business community,” Johnson said. “This center is a vital component of that system because this is where we connect the services that we provide to our job seekers with our business customers.”
Esty shared a similar sentiment, saying that it’s important to connect job seekers with means of acquiring skills to compete for jobs.
“I know we’re all united in a commitment to making sure each and every person has the skills they need and the opportunities they’d like to contribute to feed their families and have the kind of pride you get from a great job at a great company,” Esty said.
Esty said she wanted to hear from employers and job seekers on ways this connection between job seekers and service providers such as the American Job Center could improve.
Keith Ratte, a former client at the New Britain American Job Center, told how the center helped him get out of unemployment.
Ratte said he received help in preparation for job interviews and in resume building. Ratte also received emotional support.
“Emotional support was really big,” Ratte said. “I didn’t realize what a factor that was in just staying strong and staying focused on the job search.”
Kurt Westby, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Labor, said the department has recently begun reintegrating the unemployment section of the department’s website to make it easier to find services and job-search help.
Former client Pat Rudnansky also shared her success story. Rudnansky was laid off in January 2016. Through the New Britain American Job Center, Rudnansky received interview preparation and resume-building help and participated in the center’s job search open houses. After months of unemployment, Rudnansky was interviewed and hired on her birthday in August.
“Everybody here was very helpful,” Rudnansky said. “I really had a good experience.”
Rudnansky said she still stays in touch with those who helped her get a job.
New Britain Business Development Director Bill Carroll said organizations such as the American Job Center are crucial to the fabric of the community, even as the unemployment rate drops.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher to find good people for jobs,” Carroll said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.