A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tyler Square in Willimantic, attended by esteemed state, federal and local officials, recently celebrated the opening of Connecticut’s first co-located American Job Center (AJC) and adult education program.
The co-location of AJC and EASTCONN’s Adult Programs division at Tyler Square provides the region’s adults with one-stop access to free education, employment and training programs.
“This day is really a landmark,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal told a group of more than 80 people who attended the ribbon-cutting on a blustery, chilly day. “It’s a major breakthrough for workforce training and opportunity in eastern Connecticut … and is the first truly integrated workforce training establishment in the state. This place will open doors and create a vision for fulfilling the American dream. It’s a partnership of federal, state and local governments.”
“A job is the best social program,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney. “It gives you dignity and provides you with a way to support yourself and have a future for your family. That’s really what this Willimantic job center is all about.”
“This is an opportunity for all of us to maximize our local and regional state resources to bring free, high-quality programs and services in adult education, employment and training to the Willimantic region,” said EASTCONN Executive Director Paula Colen.
“The programs inside this building will be able to change lives for folks in the greater Willimantic region,” said John Beauregard, President and CEO of the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, which administers the AJC.
“This facility exists because we all believe that we must provide education and job services to our community in a single facility, nurturing adults and their academic needs so they can secure future employment,” said Rich Tariff, EASTCONN’s Director of Adult Programs, who acted as master of ceremonies for the ribbon-cutting.
Among the guest speakers were EASTCONN board Chairman Herb Arico, state DOL Commissioner Scott D. Jackson, state Sen. Mae Flexer, state Rep. Susan Johnson, Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge and the Windham Chamber of Commerce’s Diane Nadeau. Tours of the facility and a luncheon followed the ribbon-cutting.
In 2015, as a cost-saving measure, the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) announced it would close half of its 12 American Job Centers statewide, Willimantic among them. Learn more from EASTCONN’s Rich Tariff at firstname.lastname@example.org.