Chattanooga opens first career center

Chattanooga opens first career center

June 27th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.


Career preparation services will be available during regular center hours with onsite registration available. For more information on registration and workshops, call Angela Daniels at 643-6804.

Ronald Glass calls about jobs, but never gets a response. He fills out job applications on his phone, in person and online. He earned his GED, studied landscaping, brick masonry and welding, but he's still unemployed.

"I've got five kids to take care of," said the 28-year-old Chattanooga resident.

On Thursday, Glass stood front and center at the Carver Youth and Family Development Center where Chattanooga has opened one of five career preparation centers.

It plans to have similar centers open in all its Youth and Family Development Centers - formerly city recreation centers - by fall.

"We are excited about cutting this ribbon," Mayor Andy Berke said at the opening celebration. "What I'm more excited about is seeing the job placement once they're up and running."

The career centers aim to improve the lives of Chattanooga families and the city will be better for it, said City Councilman Moses Freeman.

"This seems like a small step," said Freeman. "But this is a big deal."

Glass listened as Berke noted how more people in Chattanooga are working in 2014 than in 2009, when unemployment was at an all-time high across the country.

But unemployment for Glass and other black men in Hamilton County is more than double that of other residents, according to the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.

Glass is still pursuing a job.

"Is this program going to help us?" he asked Thursday.

Career Center Coordinator Angela Daniels told area residents about how the center will help prepare people for employment.

The centers will post job openings throughout the week. Its personnel will assist job applicants with mock interviews, resume writing and dress.

"Jobs are available but you have to make yourself ready," Daniels said. "Be at work on time. Time management. That's the reason people aren't able to keep their jobs."

Hamilton County Public Defender Ardena Garth will lead workshops for people with criminal records to discuss how the records can be expunged and how they may respond to interview questions.

The workshops will start around the third week of July, said Daniels.

Glass said he's been out of jail for two years but has a robbery charge on his record that stops him from getting a job. Some people have advised him to start his own landscaping business.

Glass said he can pay the $20 or $30 for a business license, but can't afford any landscaping equipment.

He hopes the career preparation center can help him get a job.

"Any kind of a job that can keep me off the streets. That's what I'm looking for," Glass said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@ or 757-6431.