Suwannee Democrat


July 10, 2014

CareerSource North Florida-An overview

Mayo — CareerSource North Florida Employer Services Coordinator Karen Hiers recently gave an update on the company’s new name, as well as an overview of the services they provide to employers and job seekers.

In February, Hiers said, Workforce changed their name to CareerSource to better brand the organization.

“We all looked very different, but yet we did the same job,” said Hiers.

Since all 24 Workforce boards in the state had different logos and taglines, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, she said, decided to change the name of all of them to CareerSource, along with one new logo.

The only thing that changed, Hiers said, was the name. The services they provide are the same as they have been. She said the name change will be beneficial to both employers and job seekers, as it will be a recognizable brand statewide. Each organization has the option to add a tagline, such as CareerSource North Florida, which is who Hiers represents.

“Our mission is to connect our employers in our region with qualified, skilled talent to grow the region’s workforce, and to give them the skills that they need,” said Hiers. “We’re non-profit, but we just promote a higher economic future for our area workforce. We do that through activities, through training, through services, and through coordination of services sometimes.”

CareerSource North Florida is one of the largest in the state covering six counties; Lafayette, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Suwannee and Taylor counties. Administrative offices are in Madison with a satellite office in Suwannee County. There are also two mobile units. One is in Perry every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The other one goes to Greenville, Jasper and Mayo on specified days.

“You can do anything in the mobile unit that you can do in our office,” Hiers said.

There are three employer services coordinators who reach out to local companies and businesses, and post available positions. Employ Florida Marketplace ( is where jobs are posted, Hiers explained, and where job seekers can register online.

“There are many ways we can post your job,” said Hiers.

It can be posted using the company’s name and job seekers can go directly to the company’s office. It can also be posted anonymously (no company name), but with all the pertinent data about the job. Job seekers can apply online, via e-mail, or by filling out an application at a CareerSource office, who will then hand deliver the applications to the employer. The benefits of hand delivering the applications to small employers, Hiers said, is that CareerSource can screen the applications against the job order.

“If they (applicants) don’t match it, they don’t get referred to it,” she said. “You will never see an application or a resume from them. If they do match it, you will know that the applications I bring to you are exactly the ones that match what is on your job order.”

On the job training and learning new skill sets are just a couple of the services offered. Hiers said they serve all employers, no matter how many employees they have, be it one or 5,000. Most of the employers that CareerSource North Florida works with, Hiers said, are small, except one.

Klausner Lumber

That one employer is Klausner Lumber One in Suwannee County, which Hiers said they have been closely working with.

“They’re pulling job seekers from all six of our counties,” she said. “We’ve seen that in the application process. They’ve opened up some jobs and the rest of their jobs are in the process of going online right now. We have, I think, about 45 positions that we got yesterday (June 10) that we’re opening up, so they’re going to be close to interviewing soon and going to work soon over there at that site.”

Hiers said Klausner is going to be a big plus for area job seekers. At the onset of operations, Hiers said, Klausner will only be running one shift. She estimated about 50-100 employees to start. As the operations progress, she said those numbers will increase, especially when the supporting businesses start coming in.

“A lot of their “trainers” are coming over from Germany,” said Hiers. “Obviously, I don’t know a lot about saw-milling, but obviously they do it a lot differently in Germany than we do in America. I don’t know if we’re about to change them or they’re about to change us.”

Hiers said Klausner wastes nothing, so whatever is left behind after cutting the timber will be sold to other companies they have already contracted with to relocate here.

“So, you’ll see more businesses going out there on that catalyst site as they get up and running,” Hiers said. “I never dreamed that dealing with Germany and Suwannee County could be so different, but it is.”

She said one big difference was Klausner’s employment application, which asks for the applicant’s picture, their date of birth, and their political and religious affiliations, which she said isn’t the way it’s done in the U.S.

Hiers said it has been an ongoing learning experience on both sides. A human resources person Klausner was using stateside resigned within the last month or so, she added. Hiers said they are now having to deal with German HR folks, which makes things difficult because they don’t speak German.

“And they speak very little English,” she said. “Communication has been testy at best, but it’s coming along and will be a good draw for our region.”

Right now, she said, there are about 20 open job orders and another 40 more that will open soon.

“Those are very position specific,” she said. “We’re drawing from all over the region and outside the region, but their goal and our goal is to hire within our region, especially this way and up into the Hamilton County area where there is a large number of unemployed.”

Madison office

Hiers explained that their Madison office now has a dedicated area strictly for business with an HR staff, an interview room and a conference room, which was opened up last November. Any business, for instance a dairy, that doesn’t really have a place to do interviews can take advantage of this space at CareerSource North Florida. It can also be done inside the mobile units, she added.

They also can administer “Prove It” tests for computer programs, as well as business writing and business etiquette tests, and then score applicants on their skills. Employers can either make it a part of their original job order or reserve it for the final applicant selection process.

“We have a lending library that is very useful to employers that can help you as a business owner write policies or handbooks,” said Hiers.

She said they recently helped a Madison company rewrite their entire employee handbook using information from their lending library. By taking advantage of the lending library’s resources, it saves money for the employer who doesn’t have to go out and buy it. A list of those resources can be found on their website.

“We’re here to serve you,” Hiers said. “Our money comes from the federal and state government to the workforce boards, so all of our monies we have are basically taxes you have paid in employer taxes or your wonderful income taxes. The services are here, so you may as well use them. There is no cost for any service that we offer.”

Summer Youth Program

CareerSource North Florida also offers a Youth Summer Program, which is kind of like a mentor program, Hiers explained. It is usually a six week program where a student is placed in a local business to learn soft skills or even skills specific to the business, much like an intern.

“They’re just like an employee and they work the same hours,” she said. “We added training on our side one day a week in the Madison office.”

Background checks are done on Summer Youth Program participants, as well as on-the-job training program applicants, but not on regular job seekers, Hiers said.

For more information on Career Source North Florida, please call 866-367-4758, or visit their website at


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