NEWARK – The New Albany Personal Care and Beauty Campus is hiring, and companies there want to employ Licking County workers.
But those jobs are 20 miles away from downtown Newark and out of reach for those who might need them but who lack reliable transportation.
A group of Licking County agencies has partnered with the company LGS Staffing to provide a temporary solution to that problem.
Plans are in place for a bus to take already hired workers from Ohio Means Jobs Licking County, 998 E. Main St. in Newark, to the campus, then transport them back to Newark at the end of their shifts.
But the bus will only be sustainable if 35 employees participate in the program, said Windy Murphy, supervisor of business services at Ohio Means Jobs.
“There has to be participation to make it work,” Murphy said.
Ohio Means Jobs is working together with the United Way of Licking County and Mental Health America’s Bridges Out of Poverty program to launch the project.
The United Way is completing a community assessment of the county’s needs. Transportation to jobs is one of the top issues in the area, said Deb Dingus, the local organization’s executive director.
Dingus and several others started a conversation with LGS Staffing, which contracts with the businesses on the beauty campus, said LGS manager Jason McKay.
“Companies were offered incentives to come to New Albany, but the workers they need aren’t found there,” he said. “Getting them there is a challenge LGS was brought in to solve.”
While people living in Columbus can use the Central Ohio Transit Authority bus system to get to the beauty campus, those who live in other areas of central Ohio often don’t have that option.
“A lot of employers in the park are very interested in people from Newark, Johnston and Pataskala, but never have had the opportunity to meet them,” he said. “That park is starving for good employees.”
Representatives from LGS visited Ohio Means Jobs and took a tour of the facility, as well as the Salvation Army, St. Vincent Haven, the Center for New Beginnings and Courage House.
During the visit, they talked to those residents about their barriers to employment and agreed to collaborate.
LGS negotiated with a private bus company to take employees from Newark to New Albany. The company also conducted job interviews at Ohio Means Jobs.
So far, about 28 people have been hired, but more are needed to fill the bus, Murphy said.
There will be a recruitment event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Ohio Means Jobs. LGS staff members will be conducting interviews for jobs on all three shifts. Many of the jobs are in warehouse distribution and pay $8.25 to $10 an hour.
All candidates will be evaluated on an individual basis, and people who have barriers to employment, such as a criminal record, will still be encouraged to go through the interview process, Murphy said.
“This opportunity is going to lift people up,” Murphy said. “We are all working together to help them be successful.”
If at least 35 people are hired, the bus will start taking workers to New Albany on Aug. 10. It will cost $9 a day, and the payment will come out of employees’ paychecks.
Dingus, Murphy and Donna Gibson, Bridges Out of Poverty and Parent Support coordinator for Mental Health America, are working with local churches to get sack lunches donated for the workers who are riding the bus.
Gibson said she’s hopeful there will be enough interest that they can add more buses and more bus stops.
“We want to be a model for other counties,” she said.
If you go
•What: LGS Staffing Recruitment Event
•When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday
•Where: Ohio Means Jobs Licking County, 998 E. Main St., Newark
•FYI: If at least 35 employees are hired, there will be a bus to take them from Newark to New Albany. For more information, contact Ohio Means Jobs Licking County at 740-670-8700. Applications are not available online and must be completed at Ohio Means Jobs.
Article found in The Newark Advocate August 4, 2015