In order to unify workforce development efforts across the state, the Arizona Department of Economic security announced its latest initiative, ARIZONA@WORK, on Wednesday.
The new system is a rebranding of DES workforce development and will include the combination of 12 regional areas and 47 local workforce offices, according to a DES press release.
DES Director Timothy Jeffries said he thinks the unification will make government resources more approachable and easier to understand.
“We’re very hopeful that having one flag, ARIZONA@WORK, in close concert with all the regional entities, we can make government more accessible than it has historically been,” Jeffries said.
In December 2015, the unemployment rate in Arizona was 5.5 percent, and in December 2014 it was 6.3 percent according to the Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics.
“Hopefully you’ve never been out of work, but, if you’ve been out of work you know it’s not just tough because there’s no paycheck,” Jeffries said. “It’s tough because there are the natural feelings of, ‘where do I go, what do I do?'”
ARIZONA@WORK aims to diminish the feelings of hopelessness and confusion that often come along with the job search, Jeffries said, by giving job seekers the ability to have somewhere to go for help.
“Hopefully they know that with ARIZONA@WORK they have fellow Arizonans ready to come to their aid,” Jeffries said.
Orlando West, a CTS specialist at Job Corps who attended the public announcement today, said people should definitely use the help, primarily because it is free.
“I think people should take advantage of that. There’s nothing out of pocket,” West said. You lose nothing from it.”
These resources include customized recruitment services, employee development programs and business support resources.
Another attendee of the event, Alexandra Wood, said she thinks the program will be highly beneficial for individuals who are not aware of their full potential.
“Sometimes we have a low esteem and this helps us to know we’re not down here, we’re up here,” said Wood, an instructor at Canyon State Institute. “It helps people understand that you have qualifications.”