Maricopa Workforce Connections is about more than jobs

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Just off Interstate 10 at 95th Avenue, there is a county office hidden in a business park.

Thousands of people go there every month to get help finding a job, but many of them have found more than that; they say they've found careers.

3TV found Joey and Jordan playing in a bedroom with a pile of toys. They were clearly happy, never knowing the kind of pressure their parents were under just two years ago.

"From about January to May, I was back and forth from different jobs," Juan Yanez recalled. "I think I worked three or four different jobs in that time: a warehouse worker, a CNA caregiver."

While he was searching for a job, Yanez went to Maricopa Workforce Connections.

"When someone comes in the front doors, we're going to have them fill out a short form so they can tell us what they're here for," Maricopa Workforce Connections employee Stacey Faulkner explained as she showed 3TV around the lobby.

Faulkner manages the facility and calls it the best secret in the West Valley. But they don't want to be a secret at all.

"We teach resume, interview, anything that is going to help someone become employed," Faulkner said. "So, we teach all of those job readiness classes."

This is a county facility with free classes teaching interviewing skills. There are also rows of computers that people can use to apply for jobs.

That's where we found Rhonda Stamp. She has a job now, but she still takes advantage of the computer access.

"They paid for me to go to a phlebotomy course," Stamp said. "It was like a nine-week course, and I graduated."

"If someone comes in and would like to go back to school," Faulkner explained, "we can fund up to $4,000 for them to enter a training program, should they qualify."

This money comes through the Workforce Investment Act for which people have to apply and then qualify. Stamp said school took two months, but she was employed within weeks.

"I'm very happy," Stamp said. "I've been at my job a year now. ... If it weren't for them, I wouldn't even be working. I wouldn't even have known the source to go to Banner Staffing. They had a job fair that same week I graduated."

The class was key to Stamp’s success, and computers are often the gateway to jobs these days. During his search, Yanez found it was a helpful resource.

"Now, you have to apply online," Yanez said. "The Workforce Connection, that helps a lot, because they have the computers for you to use ... and you can't use that as an excuse, 'Well, I don't have a computer, so I can't look for a job.' "

Workforce Connections is linked to local employers to help people get jobs. It can also get people in touch with health insurance and housing providers.

You can find a list of services at the Human Services Department website.