Local Boards Give Advice on Redesigning Career Centers

Redesigning Career Centers

A joint presentation
between Charlotte Works and the High Country Workforce Development Board gives several examples of how to upgrade a career center.

NCWorks Career Centers don’t just need to be certified—they need to look the part, too.

That’s why Charlotte Works and the High Country Workforce Development Board redesigned their respective career centers and are helping their workforce partners across the state with how to improve their centers effectively and without breaking their budgets.

Career centers need to first decide on the goals they want to accomplish through the redesign, such as improving the flow of the office or its functionality for clients, said Jaslyn Roberts, director of talent development for Charlotte Works. Centers must ensure that all partners—such as career center staff, local and community partners, and the landlord—are regularly informed of the progress being made.

“The more involved the staff, the more the transformation will be welcomed and supported,” Roberts said. “I would also poll some of the clients and ask them what would help serve them better.”

Adrian Tait, director of the High Country Workforce Development Board, said he and his staff found various ways to save money during the redesign process.

“We’ve partnered with local universities to provide design ideas and floor-plans, negotiated with landlords and county officials, scoured the Internet for cool ideas, and even picked through warehouses of used office furnishings,” he said. “In several cases where renovations were necessary to add workshop space or change interior layouts, the landlord has been willing to work with us to bear the costs for renovations and improvements with a slight increase to our lease payments. This allows us to do the project with very little upfront costs.”

Organizations should develop a project plan, have a committee of staff members, and designate a point person to handle various tasks. A communications liaison should keep everyone aware of timelines and help partners understand how the proposed changes could affect how they offer services. The finance or accounting manager should be a part of the process to ensure accountability. Centers should also consider taking pictures of the progress of the redesign, so people can see the progress being made.

Clients for Charlotte Works appreciate how the centers were re-created to meet their needs, Roberts said. “The enhanced look of the career centers have even shifted how clients dress and conduct themselves when using the services in the centers,” she said. “From staff, there is a renewed sense of pride in the work space.”

Workforce Development Boards interested in redesigning their career centers can refer to this presentation for assistance.