City Mission opens a career center

Rick Shrum
Observer Reporter

Almost two years to the day since its devastating fire, Washington City Mission showed its resilience again.

The ceremonial ribbon was cut Tuesday on ANSYS Career Training & Education Center, located in the lower level of the mission in downtown Washington. The center will serve residents of the homeless shelter and essentially all Washington County residents who need assistance with their employment search.

“We take our job seriously in getting people back to independent living,” said Cathy Zuback, vocational services director.

The career center, a first at the mission, was built and equipped entirely from a $50,000 donation from ANSYS, a global provider of engineering simulation software based in Southpointe II. The donation came in after a June 9, 2015, fire nearly destroyed the mission.

The new center features numerous job-search resources, the most visible being 10 computer work stations. One can apply for a job online or log on to CareerScope, a tool intended to match individuals, their interests and strengths with employment opportunities. City Mission, Zuback said, “works with a lot of employers in the community.”

Paper job applications are there as well, and paper applications to secure forms of identification. There also are job-advice catalogs, videos with employment advice and City Mission staffers who can advise and assist job-seekers.

“City Mission is an on-the-job training provider,” Zuback said. “A lot of our individuals don’t know how to be punctual, how to be a good worker. We work with them on how to successfully interview. We take them to interviews, take them to drug testing and drive them where they need to go.

“We help individuals get ID – birth certificate, driver’s license, state ID, Social Security card.

“This is not just for residents, but anyone who needs assistance in the county.”

City Mission’s mission to reach out has been exemplified in recent months by the “Bridge the Gap” program it launched in February. It is a job-readiness program, in conjunction with the county jail, that is designed to prepare low-level offenders approved for work release to find meaningful employment following incarceration. Classes are held for three weeks, and all nine members of the first class, Zuback said, have jobs.

Now, the career center is up and running. Three ANSYS representatives were on hand for Tuesday’s unveiling. Maria Shields, the chief financial officer, said community service has been a priority for her company since its beginnings in 1970, and that City Mission has been a longtime beneficiary.”

“We wanted to reach out to City Mission with the computer lab and new computers to help with job searches,” she said. “We’re very proud to be part of it.”