Two local N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions (DWS) offices and Charlotte Works have collaborated for the past six months to radically improve local job-searching through an “Ultimate Upfit Makeover.”
Out with sparse cubicles, clunky furniture, dingy tile flooring, slow computers and long lines of clients!
In with new carpet, Spacia (wood flooring), vibrantly colored chairs, new paint, roomier and modern work spaces, bigger screens and “faster-bigger-clearer-better” (as one client noted) computers, more efficient print-copy-scan-fax machines, LCD projectors for trainings and presentations, Wi-Fi and additional staff!
Most clients, guests and employers pause either before or upon entering our new Welcome Centers. Their most common utterance: “Is this the employment office?”
For the past couple of years, Governor Pat McCrory has emphasized an improved customer service mentality for state government offerings. Locally, the staffs of both Charlotte Works and the DWS offices have embraced that emphasis as we integrate under the NCWorks banner to deliver seamless services to both job-seekers and employers.
One client at the DWS office on Forest Point Boulevard recently stated, “It’s nice the state is taking an interest in the unemployed. I feel more welcomed during my transition period in this new facility, which helps me focus more. The previous Resource Center was institutionalized, cramped and dirty.”
Another client said, “It’s nice to have additional space between computers to lay out my resume, applications and information, instead of on my lap. I feel like I’m ‘working’ at a ‘real job,’ looking for a job.”
As part of this upfit makeover, full-time staff associates have been assisting job-seekers in the new Resource Centers: Michael Imbruglia at the Forest Point Boulevard location and Narissa Knight at the DWS office on Executive Center Drive. Several additional staff are also being hired – career coaches, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) intake specialists and WIA training coordinators – who will be stationed in both locations to enhance the services provided to job-seekers.
A number of clients are “over-the-moon” happy with how productive they’ve been lately. Some of them have been able to complete four job applications within one hour, whereas on the previous computers, one application would take one hour to complete.
Clients are also saying the atmosphere is relaxing and engaging, more conducive to and more enjoyable in their job searches. One job-seeker commented, “Y’all made all these upgrades for ‘little old me?’”
Clients and staff are smiling more. Guests are utilizing the upfitted space in creative ways. Clients and staff are learning different ways to job-search. The cultures and vibes are changing.
And we’re just getting started.
In the near future at the Executive Center Drive location, a reconstructed conference room will be re-opened for computer training classes. A second conference room will be upfitted with a flat-screen TV and one of its walls will be covered with Idea Paint© for future groups’ creativity, brainstorming and multi-purposing.
Lounge areas will be opened with complimentary coffee and tea for clients at both locations. This amenity should probably have percolating effects on client interactions throughout the day!
More regional employers and outside groups will also be drawn to these new, upfitted spaces for further collaboration.
Randall Darnell, manager of the DWS Executive Center Drive office, says, “We’re delighted with the changes that have taken place at the Charlotte Main office. Our waiting area has a whole new, fresh look. We had a major employer using the new furniture in our large conference room to recruit, and he had at his disposal the new Wi-Fi and the new large projector screen.”
While these “Ultimate Upfit Makeover” changes have been implemented over the summer, both DWS offices have sought NCWorks Career Center certification. (Charlotte Works’ West Morehead Street location was recently certified as an official NCWorks Career Center.)
All three locations are transforming, with the goal of providing clients with the best, most seamless and productive experience possible – whether seeking assistance with unemployment insurance benefits, attending workshops, meeting potential employers or learning more about WIA training opportunities.
Although it’s not quite ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover” timeframe, it’s Charlotte’s latest version of “Ultimate Upfit Makeover.”
“We’re excited about the enhancements made here in Charlotte South,” says Stephanie Lattimore, manager of the DWS Forest Point Boulevard office. “It allows us to provide better customer service. When clients come into our center they say, ‘Wow, it looks great in here!’ And we smile and reply reply, ‘We did it just for you.’”
We’d show you more photos, but then you might not come see your new soon-to-be NCWorks Career Centers for yourself! Please come visit us soon and take advantage of the upfitted space and equipment for your job search or recruiting needs.