Budget ax closes Workforce office

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 2, 2013

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The Decatur Workforce Solutions office will be closing this month due to federal budget cuts.

Natalie Moffitt, Workforce development manager for Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas, said Decatur is one of three offices in the 14-county area that will close Feb. 28. Offices in Mineral Wells in Palo Pinto County and Ennis in Ellis County are also closing.

The agency is funded by federal dollars, and it is preparing for likely budget cuts.

“The state said to plan for a 10 percent decrease due to sequestration, otherwise known as the fiscal cliff,” Moffitt said.

Sequestration is the term used for across-the-board mandatory cuts to federal programs set to take effect March 1 unless lawmakers in Washington, D.C., come up with a deal to replace or delay the looming cuts.

“Our funding is federal funding, and we don’t really have any control over that,” Moffitt said. “The way we see things going in D.C., there will be cuts across the board in most agencies.”

In anticipation of those cuts, Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas reviewed each of the 15 offices in its region, looking at factors such as the amount of people using the services at each office and proximity to the nearest Workforce Center. Moffitt said the Decatur office averaged 19 people per day last year.

The Decatur office offers employment services for unemployment insurance recipients, appeals of unemployment insurance and training under the Workforce Investment Act for Wise County. The office is located at 1810 S. Farm Road 51, open Monday through Friday.

Moffitt said Wise County residents can use the Denton County office at 1300 Teasley Lane in Denton. That office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesdays. Also somewhat close by is the Parker County office, located at 126 College Park Drive in Weatherford. That office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Workforce Solutions is also working with county officials to determine a suitable location to host a mobile office once a week. The 38-foot, RV-type vehicle includes 13 work stations.

According to numbers provided by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Wise County’s unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent during the last four months of 2012, the first time the rate had been that low since the last quarter of 2008.

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