Merrimack Valley Workforce Board and Career Center Celebrate Name Change
The ValleyWorks Career Center, which Northern Essex manages, has a new name, as of this month. Now called MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center, the center, which has locations in Haverhill and Lawrence, serves over 10,000 job seekers and 700 employers each year.
The name change is part of a statewide initiative to rebrand the 29 career centers and 16 local workforce investment boards. Previously the centers and boards all had different names, which made it difficult to promote the resources provided by the state’s workforce system.
Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, who formerly served on Northern Essex’s Board of Trustees, made the announcement at an event held at the career center’s Essex Street offices in Lawrence on Thursday, Nov. 15.
“Ensuring that there is consistency across the state is important for businesses and customers that interact with our system,” said Secretary Acosta. “We want to make sure the same experience we get here in the Merrimack Valley, you get on the Cape and you get in the Berkshires.”
Also speaking at the event were Juan Yepez, MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board chair; Daniel Rivera, mayor of Lawrence, Abel Vargas, interim workforce board executive director, Linda Rohrer, career center executive director, and Lane Glenn, NECC president.
Northern Essex has been managing the career centers since the spring of 2017 when the MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board (then called the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board) selected the college, through a competitive bid process, to assume management and operational responsibilities. Funding for the center, currently $2 million per year, is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides resources to states and local workforce investment boards.
The center provides employment and training services for youth, unemployed and under-employed adults, and laid-off workers, as well as recruitment and incumbent worker training for local companies.
Under the college’s management, the career center has reorganized to focus on priority areas. There now are four teams serving health care, manufacturing, trades, and professional services.
In the future, the college hopes to more closely integrate the career center with the college, enhancing career resources for Northern Essex students and giving more career center clients access to the college’s educational resources. This integrated approach will also deepen the talent pool available to employers across the region.
MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Centers serve 15 cities and towns across the region: Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, North Andover, Haverhill, Georgetown, Merrimack, Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, West Newbury, Rowley, Boxford, and Groveland.