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Grants expand lab's job search capabilities

Date: 5/17/2013

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM — Work Opportunity Center Inc. (WOC) is the recipient of two grants totaling $4,200 to help fund an upgrade to its Comprehensive Computer Lab. A third grant application is pending for $2,100.

The First Niagara Bank Foundation awarded WOC $1,050 and the Berkshire Bank Foundation awarded WOC $3,150. WOC applied for an additional grant through the Rotary Club of West Springfield and is awaiting notification.

According to Sandy Michaelian, assistant manager of Employment Supports at WOC, the grants enable the nonprofit to purchase six personal computers with monitors, and pay for the installation. These computers will replace the old models the WOC currently has and expand the total amount of machines in the lab.

She said, "The company we are working with [to obtain the equipment] will ensure we get as much as we can from the money we receive." Michaelian added that the company is willing to work with WOC even if the third grant doesn't pan out.

Michaelian explained the computers would be used to assess the competence of job seekers, to teach basic computer skills to individuals and utilized for the creation of documents such as resumes and cover letters. The computers will have internet capability to support the need for online job searches.

"We provide employment opportunities and employment skill training to enable people to become contributing members of society," Michaelian stated.

She said that most of the computer lab patrons are those who have exhausted their benefits from the Department of Transitional Assistance and need to find a job since they will no longer receive state support.

For more info about WOC and the services it offers, visit