SIDNEY, NE — In the panhandle, a state department is opening up a new office to provide employment resources to those who need it.
The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) cut the ribbon on their new facility in Sidney Wednesday.
Relocating from 22nd and Jackson to the Western Nebraska Community College Campus, the office is dedicated to connecting people looking for jobs with employers.
Department of Labor commissioner John Albin says he's a big fan of opening the space within a college.
"If an employer or the Department of Labor goes to tech schools, community colleges and says, 'We need this program,' they're usually going to find a way to do it," Albin said. "Even if it's something they've never done before. The adaptability and flexibility of a community college is amazing."
He also praised the department's employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says those efforts are crucial as businesses and individuals continue to recover from the effects.
"In most states, all of their local offices for the American Job Center just closed," Albin said of the start of the pandemic. "We took the attitude like, 'Okay. In the middle of a pandemic with record unemployment, this is a time when people need us the most. It's like closing a hospital. You can't do it."
The area helps business owners with resources like assisting with hiring events and providing an interviewing space. The Department of Labor also works with local businesses to establish training and apprenticeship programs. Albin specifically pointed out UST Global and their work with the Trade and Economic Transition (TET) program. Albin called the company one of the program's "biggest success program."
He also mentioned Wheat Belt Public Power District and their work with the apprenticeship program.
The NDOL Sidney office originally opened in early 2018 after the sale of Cabela's to Bass Pro. Albin says the new office will help the crew continue to "broaden their horizons," to further help people and employers find one another.
For more information on resources the NDOL can provide go to dol.nebraska.gov.