Worcester career center unveils rebranding, new focus

BY Grant Welker

Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Janice Weekes, the director of the newly-renamed Mass Hire Worcester Career Center, said at an event Thursday that the name change and new focus had been in the works for some time.

In two decades as a hiring manager in the private sector, Rosalind Acosta didn't know Massachusetts had a statewide network of career centers or workforce investment boards meant to connect employers with workers.
Acosta, who became the state's secretary of labor and workforce development last year, wasn't alone. A survey of employers found 6 percent knew the state's career centers existed, she said.
Acosta saw an opportunity to get career centers in front of employers, and has led a rebranding effort that includes a focus more on those who can hire the state's 133,000 unemployed residents.
"We need to do a better job for our employers and a better job for our job seekers," Acosta said Thursday at the newly-named Mass Hire Worcester Career Center in Worcester, formerly the Workforce Central Career Center.
A new sign went up Wednesday outside the building at 340 Main St., and inside the fourth-floor space, the new Mass Hire logo -- two figures shaking hands to form an M shape -- is everywhere: on mouse pads, pins, polo shirts and wall stickers. The office was decorated in the logo's blue, green and yellow color scheme.

With unemployment in the state hitting 3.6 percent in July, officials saw an opportunity to refocus efforts that wouldn't have been possible a decade ago during the height of the Great Recession.
"We've been talking about rebranding for quite some time now," said Janice Weekes, the director of the Worcester center.
The Mass Hire name was actually the last part of the rebranding efforts. Acosta said officials went through 45 potential names before landing on Mass Hire. The efforts included a new priority on reaching out to employers and making job-seeking, resume help, interview preparation or other services more easily available to residents both in person at centers and online.
Acosta said she remembers a common name for such centers as simply unemployment offices. But they're much broader than that now, she added.
"You don't have to be unemployed to come here," she said.