CEDAR RAPIDS — A community resource center aiming to offer a one-stop approach to connect people’s work and career goals with employment opportunities will open next week in the Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW in Cedar Rapids.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library, United Way of East Central Iowa, Kirkwood Community College and HACAP are collaborating to staff and offer programs at the Opportunity Center.
An open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday will showcase the services that will be available, said Amber Mussman, community relations manager for the library.
“The center, which will be located in the back part of the Ladd Library, will include a classroom with 12 computers,” Mussman said. “Our partners came to us with the desire to bundle services, creating sort of a one stop shop for people who need the most support.
“The goal is to have organizations and government agencies that will ‘hotel’ out of that space and provide referrals for whatever a patron might need.”
The Opportunity Center is modeled on the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families in Des Moines, Mussman said.
“Someone may come in and say, ‘I lost my job and I’m not sure what the next step is,’” she said. “We can help them sign up for unemployment benefits. We also can ask, ‘Do you have a place to stay? Do you have food to eat? Do you have transportation?’”
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The Opportunity Center will provide access to a variety of services, rather than have an individual going to multiple agencies at different locations.
Mussman said the center will open for business next week and initially operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.