New center in Lexington’s East End to provide work force training

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As many people are looking to re-enter the workforce, some may find it useful to brush up their skills.

Well, a new center in Lexington’s East End is aimed at providing those services.

The work force training center officially opened Thursday at Charles Young Park.

“It’s where need and access and opportunity all come together,” Anissa Franklin, Chief Administrative Officer with the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County, said.

The center was created in response to recommendations by the Commission on Racial Justice and Equality.

Partnering organizations will provide soft skills training like job search training and more – all for free.

“All of which help families in this community to thrive as they seek toward self-sufficiency,” Franklin said.

Bobby Sullens knows what it’s like to not only need a refresher course on work skills, but a second chance at getting his foot in the door.

“Sometimes in life people make mistakes or find themselves down and out,” Sullens said. “I have made mistakes in the past.”

Sullens said Lexington Rescue Mission, one of the partnering organizations, gave him the training he needed and pushed him to get the job he has today at Old World Timber.

“It’s hard to find jobs these days and they help point you in the right direction,” Sullen said. “Knowing there’s hope for the future after the mistake – that means so much to people.”

Owner Nathan Brown said he’s proud to work with job training programs that allow him to provide the second chance he feels everyone deserves.

He said the majority of his employees have come from the Lexington Rescue Mission.

“As a believer, God gave me a second chance. I think everyone deserves a second, third, hundredth chance,” Brown said. “In order for people to be successful, they have to be able to provide for themselves and their families.”

The center is being funded by the city for six months. If it’s successful, it may expand to other neighborhoods. Anyone can walk in or make an appointment on Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – WORK-Lexington, Lexington’s new workforce resource center, opened its doors Thursday in the East End Neighborhood, with the goal of opening the door to employment to anyone looking for work.

“We want to make job training accessible and available at the neighborhood level,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “We’re starting here at the Charles Young Center, with opportunities for job training, job placement and support services. We know we have people looking for work and employers looking for workers in our City … we hope they can come together at WORK-Lexington.”

The need for increased job training was identified by the Mayor’s Commission on Racial Justice & Equality.

“This is the perfect time for workforce training as we come out of a pandemic that cost many people their jobs,” Gorton said.

As the program grows, WORK-Lexington we hope to expand to other neighborhoods.

“We learned during the pandemic with testing and vaccines how important it is to take services to the neighborhoods, where they are easily accessible,” Gorton said.

Another lesson learned during the pandemic, the importance of partnerships, is also part of WORK-Lexington, which is initially bringing together eight workforce partners who will form a one-stop shop for job training.

Many of the partners were on hand for the news conference.

Although this is the first time the City has offered job training programs in the neighborhoods, the City has offered job training with some of these partners since 2017, and has had success in getting people trained and hired.

Three workers and an employer who have participated in city programs were on hand for Thursday’s news conference.

WORK-Lexington Partners include the Urban League, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, United Way of the Bluegrass, Opportunity for Work & Learning, the Kentucky Career Center, Jubilee Jobs, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Lexington Rescue Mission, and Goodwill Industries of Kentucky.

Councilmember James Brown said the Charles Young Center meets many community needs.

“The Charles Young Center continues to be one of the most dynamic spaces in the East End Neighborhood.  It’s a special place for our seniors and our youth, to now hosting a pilot Work-Lexington program that hopes to connect workforce resources to a section of our community that needs them the most,” Brown said.

In conjunction with WORK-Lexington, the United Way of the Bluegrass is opening one of its new neighborhood WayPoint Centers inside Charles Young, a resource to help improve financial stability and address the complex challenge of improving economic mobility, overall wellness, and opportunity for underserved families.

“United Way of the Bluegrass is proud to partner with the City of Lexington to help improve the lives of people living in the East End Neighborhood,” said Timothy Johnson, United Way president and CEO. “Through the Workforce Resource Center, and the support of countless other partners, we are illustrating what can happen when we come together to help more of our neighbors succeed.”

Services at WORK-Lexington are free.

Walk-in or register for an appointment at www.lexingtonky.gov/lexwork. The Center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

For information email work@lexingtonky.gov or call 859-258-WORK.

The Charles Young Center is located at 540 East Third St.

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