According to the Missoula Job Service, residents of Ravalli County, can expect the same level of services provided to them, despite the Bitterroot Job Services office closing.
“First and foremost we want to reassure people their needs will still be met,” said Vickie Steele, the manager at Bitterroot Job Services. “The worst case scenario would be for people to feel out of the loop.”
The closure will go through three distinct phases, according to Wolf Ametsbichler, the manager for Missoula Job Services. The first phase will establish what services need to be cut and, where appropriate, supplemented. The second will be a listening phase where employees will try to learn from people what they need from Job Service. The third phase will be a fully developed plan to address those needs in the Bitterroot Valley.
“We won’t be trying to turn Ravalli County into the same job market as Missoula,” Ametsbichler said.
Although they don’t plan to attempt one-size-fits-all solutions, there is more in common with Ravalli and Missoula counties than most people think, according to Ametsbichler. While there are considerably more agricultural workers and larger numbers of small businesses, the two counties both primarily need workers in the healthcare field and the trades.
“After having the services here locally for fifty years we understand how people have come to depend on us,” Steel said. “We welcome people calling in to us with their concerns and fears. We want that level of trust and open-door attitude to continue.”
Job Services' officers around the state of Montana provide clients with practice interviews and other training needs and assessments. People who come into Job Services are often tech savvy, but may nott had to create a resume in 15 years, Steele said.
The amount of walk-in traffic has decreased since the advent of the internet age, but Bitterroot Job Services sees between 300 and 350 walk-ins to the office each month, which is not dissimilar to the number in Missoula according to Ametsbichler.
The last day for the Bitterroot Job Services office is Oct. 31. Two of the six employees at Bitterroot Job Services will be offered jobs in Missoula.
“We’re still here, in the process of offering jobs,” Steele said. “Any change is hard, but it will be okay.”