Clinton County commissioners keep eye on CareerLink office

LOCK HAVEN – Two officials connected to the Clinton County CareerLink office visited with the Clinton County commissioners Monday to say that a smaller staff and smaller quarters do not mean a smaller level of services for job services.

The commissioners viewed the claim with skepticism.

The county government board members basically replied with raised eyebrows – and a strongly worded “We’re going to keeping our eye on you” in the future to make sure of that.

Monday’s dialogue was sparked by an unfortunate juxtaposition – on nearly the same week that the community learned of the loss of some 150 jobs due to the bankruptcy filing of two local companies, CareerLink officials announced that they were cutting staff and hours at the local Pennsylvania CareerLink office on Grove Street in Lock Haven.

So on Monday, when Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Workforce Director Rachel Smith, talked about “reallocated resources” and the “need to think differently,” commissioners Joel Long, Pete Smeltz and Jeff Snyder replied – at least initially – with a spate of worried commentary.

Smith, and Lycoming-Clinton CareerLink Director Bruce Jones both suggested the downsizing was necessary at a time of fiscal uncertainty, with no promises of continued federal support.

As for last month’s sudden closing of the doors at three local auto parts companies – Lock Haven Distribution, Rafko and Fenco – they arrived just before an untimely scheduling of cuts in staff and hours at the local CareerLink office

Smith said the change in direction actually was a long time in coming and was the result of numerous discussions among Workforce Development and local elected officials – Smeltz is a member of that latter group.

Snyder ended the meeting with a challenge for workforce officials.

“We will revisit this in the future,” he said, “and if we aren’t happy, we will let you know we’re not happy.”

As of July 1, the CareerLink, at 8 N. Grove St., reduced its public hours to 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The agency, however, said Clinton County can be assured that the hours of operation will support continued service delivery to the general public along with customized services to employers and job seekers by appointment during the afternoon hours.