EFFINGHAM -- C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently showcased their 52nd year of accomplishments demonstrating the fact that community action helps people and changes lives.

During the 2017 annual meeting, people were recognized who had overcome obstacles in obtaining or maintaining self-sufficiency, a press release from the organization stated. According to C.E.F.S. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Bushur, “This past year our programs and services truly made a real difference in the lives of residents of the community.”

Raymond (Ray) Wright of Mattoon had worked 20 years for his previous employer before experiencing loss of employment in November 2015. Early in February 2016, Wright visited the resource center at the C.E.F.S. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Program Office in Effingham in search of support with finding gainful employment. Shortly thereafter, Wright applied for tuition assistance through the WIOA Adult Program at his local C.E.F.S. WIOA Office. Ray decided it was time to return to school as he wanted to obtain his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

The WIOA Adult Program provided Wright the ability to attend the CDL training through Lake Land College by assisting with training related costs including tuition and travel reimbursement. In June 2016, Wright completed his CDL Training, obtained his license, and has returned to full-time and self-sustaining employment as an Interstate Commercial Truck Driver with Schneider National, Inc.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Program provides activities that increase employment, retention, earnings and skills in the American Workforce. The C.E.F.S. WIOA Program serves 14 counties in Local Workforce Innovation Area No. 23 with grant funds from Lake Land College through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Programs include Youth, Adult, Dislocated Worker and Trade Adjustment Act. Customers of the program are able to easily receive a preliminary assessment of their skill levels, aptitudes, abilities and support service needs. Customers can obtain information on a full array of employment related services.

The workforce centers also offer job search and placement assistance, career counseling and up-to-date labor market information which identifies job vacancies, skills necessary for in-demand jobs and provides information about local, regional and national employment trends. People who need more intensive help to become employed can receive more comprehensive assessments, development of employment plans, group and individual counseling, case management and short-term pre-vocational services.

In some cases, qualified customers may receive training services such as on the job training, tuition assistance, work experience and supportive services which are directly linked to job opportunities in their local area. A youth program is also available which offers youth training services, paid work experience, on the job training, job readiness training, supportive services, leadership skills, resume development, job search assistance and classroom training.

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation has been providing comprehensive social services for over fifty-two years for limited-income persons. C.E.F.S. is a comprehensive human service provider offering direct services, referrals and linkages to address the issues facing low-income residents and providing local community solutions to meet those needs.

For more information about the community action agency or program, contact the local Illinois workNet Center office at 217-235-2222, the C.E.F.S. central office at 217-342-2193 or visit the agency website at www.cefseoc.org or the agency Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cefseoc.

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