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Jamaica job center offers retraining

The souring economy has seen many Queens residents lose their longtime jobs and prospective employees afraid and nervous to enter the working world, according to Rachel Gordon, executive director of the nonprofit Business Leaders of Tomorrow.

Next week, her organization will be giving both groups of displaced workers from all over the borough a chance to get back on their feet with a special open house at its Jamaica career center.

Business Leaders of Tomorrow: The Career Development Center, at 131−08 Liberty Ave., will take rÉsumÉs and walk−in visits next Monday through Wednesday for job retraining and placement for unemployed or underemployed persons above 18.

“It brings some kind of hope to the people that someone cares, that someone is thinking about what is going on,” Gordon said.

The center, funded by the city, specializes redirecting applicants to organizations where they can get training for job certificates and licenses, such as a commercial driver’s license, certified nurses assistant training, and computer office assistant training. Gordon said these positions are still popular in today’s job market and inexperienced workers would greatly benefit in the long run from the training.

The courses, some of which last as little as eight weeks, are offered by a variety of city organizations and non−profits, including Queensborough Community College, Brooklyn−based training center Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow and Manhattan−based Nontraditional Employment for Women, which helps women get certified training for construction jobs, according to Gordon.

The executive director added that these organizations have been helping workers get licenses for years and welcome new applicants.

The center also provides a helping hand to those who spent several years in the workforce and who have years of knowledge in their working class field. This is very beneficial for clients, according to Gordon, because it not only gives them a job, but helps them avoid abandoning the skills they have amassed.

“We are able to send them to a job developer of a career that they have been working for a long period of time,” she said.

Since opening the center in January, Gordon said the center registered more than 350 clients and 250 of them received retraining services. With the economic crisis growing, the executive director said she fears that her office could be in danger of closing due to city budget cuts.

Nevertheless, she said she and her staff remain committed to helping the growing number of displaced workers who come knocking on their door.

For more information on Business Leaders of Tomorrow and the open houses, visit www.blotlec.org or call 718−297−6849.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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