Local Career Centre forced to close its doors

Career and Employment Counsellor Charmin Rockwell holds some of the tools of the trade in this Morinville News file photo from happier times. Career Employment and Counselling Services will be closing their doors in mid-December due to government cutbacks.
Career and Employment Counsellor Charmin Rockwell holds some of the tools of the trade. Career Employment and Counselling Services will be holding résumé and career planning workshops beginning next week.

by Ashley Janes

Morinville – The Career Employment and Counselling Services (CECS) centre in Morinville will be shutting down after learning that the provincial government will not be renewing their contract, set to expire on Dec. 31. Centre Manager Charmin Rockwell said CECS was not given an extension in their contract due to funding cutbacks. “It is not economically feasible for CECS to operate without government funding, and it is expected that any new contracts would be good for only one year which makes it extremely difficult to offer staff any type of stability,” Rockwell explained.

Opened in 2002, the centre won the Chamber of Commerce Medium Sized Business award twice. CECS records show that more than 400 services per month have been provided to town residents, including walk-ins, phone calls, appointments and assistance with the resource center. CECS has also offered regular computer courses ranging from basic to intensive training, helping residents develop the comprehensive computer skills needed to be successful in the workforce. Rockwell said whether community members are looking for work or looking for employees, CECS has provided a variety of programs, workshops and services to help them in their search. “We have assisted with career choices, career changes and career planning for people of all ages and abilities,” she said.

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec commented on the closure, explaining that the Government of Alberta will offer the same assistance for job seekers through Alberta Works. Centre clientele can transfer to the closest office in Westlock where Kubinec said they should experience no disruption in services as a result of this change.

Morinville Chamber of Commerce president Simon Boersma feels differently, arguing the closure will negatively affect both job seekers and local businesses. “This is going to hit our community hard,” he said. “We need a resource centre. We still have people coming in that do not have a properly written resume and who are not prepared for an interview. This is the kind of thing the centre was doing, trying to assist their clients to ensure that both the employer and client where well matched. They held a lot of specialty seminars for clientele and, for us, they were only one phone call away.”

Although management has not provided a specific date yet, the CECS centre will be closing its doors sometime in December. Rockwell will update residents as soon as she knows for certain. “We are disappointed that we are no longer going to be providing services to the community,” she said. “There will potentially be a gap for those who have transportation issues and cannot get to Westlock. We are currently trying to work with other community groups to see if there could be some type of service offered when we are gone. We have been very grateful for the time we have had in Morinville and for the support from community members.”

The following information is for the Westlock branch of Alberta Works. Address: 11304-99 Street, Westlock, AB T7P OA4, and phone: 780-349-7700.

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  1. To say there will be no disruption in services for local clientele is misleading. It needs to be clarified that CECS is a Sturgeon County regional program. When clients have no access to transportation, CECS staff travel to their communities to work with them. Is Alberta Works going to pay mileage expenses for staff to travel from Westlock to work with a client in Morinville or Gibbons?

    CECS works with some of the most vulnerable members of society. This move by the Government will keep them down, not build them up, in my opinion.

  2. Let me get this straight–the government cuts funding to a local agency that provides support to the unemployed and those going through a transitional period–and our MLA wants us to believe there won’t be any “disruption” in services by forcing clients to drive 55 kms north to receive similar supports?!?!? Opening an Alberta Works Office in Morinville would result in little-to-no “disruption”.

  3. Yes Moe, you got it right…

    What more do you expect from a PC government… and a light-weight backbencher of an MLA?

    We’ll talk when you get back… Safe travels!

  4. This is disgraceful. I am so sad to hear this news. I too benefitted from the services provided by CECS at a time in my life that I was extremely vulnerable. Charmin and her staff helped me find my way through the intimidating challenge of changing careers. I was blessed enough to have their support and that of family and friends. I fear for the outcome for those that will not have this essential service once their doors close.
    Maureen Kubinec is completely misguided in her comments. The same service will not be provided in Westlock, and for those that are in the fragile position of looking for employment, finding transportation to Westlock alone can become an exercise in futility. I am sure that since she has a well paying job and a vehicle she has forgotten this. With all due respect Mrs. Kubinec your job is to fight for the people especially those less fortunate. In the long run this is going to cost our BROKEN government even more.
    In closing my rant I encourage everyone to write a letter to Mrs. Kubinec our MLA to help her see what a huge mistake this is.
    On a positive note, thank you from the bottom of my heart to Charmin Rockwell and all the staff at CECS for making a difference in my life and the lives of many others in Morinville. Hopefully we can find a way to keep this invaluable service you provide to our community available here in Morinville.

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