Enfield’s labor office will remain open under federal partnership

September 21, 2015

By Mike Savino
Article as it appeared in the Journal Inquirer
Monday, September 21, 2015

The Department of Labor will keep open six job centers previously targeted for closure, including a facility in Enfield, thanks to a partnership with the federal Workforce Investment Board, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office announced Friday.

The restructuring plan, which takes effect Oct. 16, says those six job centers will now become “affiliates” of the 12 locations still under Labor Department management, and will continue to provide some unemployment services.

“This restructuring, without closures, will continue many important services for residents,” Office of Policy and Management Strategic Research and Communications Adviser Christopher McClure said in a statement.

He also said the plan will “maintain as many services as possible.”

McClure shared a memo from Paul Mounds, Malloy’s director of government affairs, and Christopher Smith, the deputy director, indicating the centers in Enfield, Meriden, New Britain, Norwich, Torrington, and Windham will become affiliate offices operated by regional Workforce Investment Boards.

The regional entities were created as part of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and the North Central Connecticut Board, which already operates the Manchester location, will manage Enfield’s job center.

The memo states that the six locations still will offer workshops, training, and aid with job searches, similar to those at the Manchester location.

There will not be any state Labor Department employees regularly working at the affiliate sites, though, and any state services required by federal guidelines will be completed by email, fax, or, when necessary, an office visit.

The memo also states that each of the six affiliate offices could move or be subject to consolidation as less space is required.

The state Labor Department also is consolidating its two call centers to its Middletown location and will eliminate adjudication division offices in Hamden, Hartford, and Waterbury.

Adjudication services now will be offered in Bridgeport, Middletown, and the department’s central office in Wethersfield.
The department also will use fewer locations for appeals and field audits.

The Labor Department is consolidating its offices after announcing in early August that it would be laying off 95 employees.

McClure said the layoffs and consolidation are necessary because of a drop in federal funding through a grant that weighs state and national unemployment rates, which are both down.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent after adding 3,200 non-farm jobs last month, the Labor Department said Thursday.