CareerSource Northeast Florida braces for huge demand

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The agency is planning satellite offices to meet demand.

Northeast Florida’s main career assistance agency is preparing to reopen offices with multiple restrictions following more than two months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency is opening satellite locations in anticipation for major demand as the state faces an unprecedented unemployment crisis.

CareerSource Northeast Florida will reopen its services at seven offices in Duval, Clay, Baker, St. Johns, Nassau and Putnam counties Tuesday, May 26. CareerSource offices headquartered in Jacksonville have been slammed with hundreds of calls every day from residents in the region who have lost jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic.

CareerSource officials have been providing assistance online, but have been unable to provide in-person consultations due to COVID-19 social distancing and work-at-home orders. Those orders are now being eased.

CareerSource officials decided to wait until after Memorial Day to open offices and will employ several precautions.

All in-person consultations will need to be pre-scheduled to prevent overcrowding. Northeast Florida CareerSource President Bruce Ferguson said social distancing will be observed in all offices and masks are encouraged.

“To accommodate the guidelines on social distancing, we’ve had to modify the layouts at all of our existing centers and that means we have fewer workstations and less physical capacity to see as many people daily as we did before the shutdown,” Ferguson said.

The local CareerSource agency added one satellite location and others are in the works to accommodate an anticipated rush of people seeking job placement help. The first satellite location is already operational at the Clay County Fairgrounds. Additional centers are planned for Putnam and St. Johns counties.

Ferguson said the agency is working to make all available space accessible for those seeking career help.

“We were able to modify conference rooms to add some workstations and have acquired some additional short-term spaces to make up some of the loss” of office space due to social distancing, Ferguson said.

Residents seeking career assistance can visit Northeast Florida CareerSource’s website or call (904) 356-JOBS (5627). Offices will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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