CAC Career Center opens in Sandy Springs to get people jobs

CAC Executive Director Francis Horton, left, speaks with Dunwoody Council Members Rob Price and Stacey Harris outside the CAC’s offices and career center on the Hightower Trail in Sandy Sprigns. (Bob Pepalis)

An open house for the Community Assistance Center’s Careers Center provided an opportunity to bring together three human resource professionals for a discussion on bringing local workers into the workplace.

“The mission of the Community Assistance Center is to prevent homelessness and hunger. And since 1987, we’ve done a pretty good job of getting people through the crisis and even helping them achieve financial stability,” said CEO/Executive Director Francis Horton at the September 22 open house. “The Career Center is kind of the next step in helping people get through the crisis.”

Career center manager George Northrop said his model starts with people coming to the CAC for financial support. These clients are sent to the Career Center to assess their skills, abilities and needs. A careers advisor supports them in their job search.

In addition, the career center at 1130 Hightower Trail in Sandy Springs offers educational resources, access to training and certification programs, and partnerships with local employers.

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“This seems like a way to give people the networking and networking opportunities that they might not get elsewhere to complain,” said Rob Price, Dunwoody Councilman reporter newspapers. “And that’s where I see the biggest help is that they just mentioned connecting people to services.”

Dunwoody Councilor Stacey Harris said she asked Horton of the CAC how the Career Center related to Dunwoody and his CAC location. He informed their staff at Dunwoody that they would be doing the initial admissions of parishioners served from that location and referring them to the career center in Sandy Springs.

Harris said her other thought came after hearing that CAC would work with State Farm and help them understand that the city needs to publicize that the company is located in Dunwoody, next to a MARTA station.

Northrop and his team work closely with local employers and government agencies such as Northside Hospital, the City of Sandy Springs and Goodwill of North Georgia to match candidates with jobs and training. Representatives from these organizations took part in a panel discussion on how non-traditional worker candidates can also find a job.

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Northside Hospital’s Erin Powell said the organization is using non-traditional methods to train and hire new staff to address healthcare shortages. (Bob Pepalis)

Erin Powell of Talent Acquisition at Northside Hospital said it employs more than 30,000 people.

“Like any healthcare facility, we have struggled over the past three years with staffing and meeting the needs of our patient population, but we have found some unique and creative solutions,” she said.

Examples of non-traditional programs Northside has developed include a CNA certification program in which participants are paid for training.

“We help them embark on a career path that can lead to becoming an LPN or an RN,” Powell said.

Carolyn Davis, economic development manager for Sandy Springs, said the CAC Career Center is a marketing asset that is helping her sell the town to businesses. (Bob Pepalis)

Carolyn Davis, Sandy Springs director of economic development, said a lot of her job involves connecting the workforce with employers.

The CAC Career Center “is an incredible marketing asset for me to convey why companies should come into this community because there are resources like this dedicated to providing the talented workforce that these employers are looking for,” she said .

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Goodwill of North Georgia’s Glorivee Cruz-Velazquez said her organization works with the CAC Career Center to serve North Fulton. (Bob Pepalis)

Goodwill of North Georgia serves 30,000 people and employs 16,000 people by receiving job leads, attending job fairs and presenting skills training programs, said Glorivee Cruz-Velazquez, director of employment at Goodwill of North Georgia. The organization also offers certification programs and works with local community colleges to provide clients with training and skills that turn a job into a career.

Although Goodwill of North Georgia has 14 career centers of its own, none are located in North Fulton.

“We felt it was a great opportunity to work with George and Francis on the team here to mentor individuals in this space and to provide many of the services that we already offer,” she said.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia Chief Mission Officer Jerry Veltri speaks with Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul at the opening of the career center. (Bob Pepalis)

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