LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As we continue to follow the struggles with unemployment benefits, thousands of Kentuckians are out of work and looking for answers.
One place to turn to for employment and training is the Kentucky Career Center.
At the height of the pandemic, businesses shut down, unemployment skyrocketed, and benefits were hard to come by.
The phone lines at the Kentucky Career Center in Lexington rang around the clock.
"They weren't getting their unemployment. They needed employment. We sat around as a staff to figure out what can we do. How can we be a partner in this? And how can we be an agent for change," said Mike Riley, the project development director.
While Riley says the Center can't help people actually obtain their unemployment benefits, what they can do is assist those in need find a new career path.
"We want to see them be the best version of themselves they can be. We want to put them in positions to succeed," said Riley.
Due to the pandemic, the Career Center's operations and training are fully virtual. One call or message will connect you with resources.
"That's everything from providing resume assistance, to helping people with their job services. We do interview skills," said Amy Glasscock with the Kentucky Career Center.
Once you figure out what route of employment you want to go, the center can connect you with a job, paid internship, or perhaps classes to pursue a new field. These are free services.
"Helping people has always been my big passion," said Kayla Delong.
If you're 18-to-24 years old, your case manager might be Delong.
Back in the summer of 2019, Delong was a single mom working two jobs.
"Minimum wage, single parent. I got tips, but you can never rely on waittress income," said Delong.
So when a friend referred her to one of the Center's programs, Delong took a temporary pay cut and a chance that life for her family was about to improve.
After a few months, she was promoted to her current position within the Career Center, and now helps other young people find their career path.
"It's not even just a job anymore. It's a career that I love, and I really, I couldn't thank anyone enough for what I do," said Delong.
Glasscock says the center focuses on five high-demand sectors: manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, transportation/distribution/logisitcs, and construction.
"It may not be the exact career that you always wanted to go into, but if you are needing a job, they are hiring and we can put you in that internship, get your foot in the door, and then maybe they'll hire you full time," said Glasscock.
Due to the pandemic any meetings or career-building skills training will be virtual. If there's a technology barrier, Glasscock says the manager will find a way to help you.