Friday, Jun. 15, 2012
EDD services available at Worknet office
Move won't be permanent until federal codes are met
By Thaddeus Miller / email@example.com
The Employment Development Department closed the doors to its H Street office June 1, and is still in negotiations with its counterpart on a permanent home in Los Banos.
The EDD and Merced County Workforce Investment, or Worknet, have been discussing the combining of offices in the Worknet building on Seventh Street since January, but the office must meet federal requirements for disability.
"Currently, we're not placing a full-time staff until we get a go-ahead from our partner (Worknet)," said Eva Rios, manager of the Modesto cluster of EDD.
Meanwhile, a rotation of EDD staff can be found in the Worknet office, Rios said.
The office was approved for 1.5 employees, or 60 hours per week. A posting in the Worknet office states EDD staff can be found Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Los Banos has an unemployment rate of 21.1 percent, and almost 17 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. So the services provided by the Employment Development Department are essential in the community.
Rios said customers with specific needs, like veterans or Spanish speakers, should schedule appointments to meet with staff to discuss employment.
The two H Street EDD employees have been relocated to the Merced office.
Brian Cutler, the special projects manager for Worknet, said the arrangement between the two entities is not permanent until after the Seventh Street office meets requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said he could see no reason the relationship would not work out. He also didn't have a timetable for the work to be completed.
"I think it's moving forward quite well," Cutler said.
The office's landlord has begun some of those ADA additions to the building, Cutler said.
Worknet employees are capable of helping customers with unemployment benefits through the EDD website, or by phone or fax, Cutler said. The overwhelming majority use the website, he said.
From July 2010 to June 2011 Worknet had 20,083 visitors, including repeat visits. That's an average of 1,673 per month or 77 per day.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.