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Employment services site set up at public library

Scott Piepkorn, an employment counselor with the Wadena WorkForce Center, has set up a "mobile workforce site" at the Park Rapids Area Library. He's available Tuesdays and Thursdays to help with job search-related tasks or questions. The services are free. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)1 / 2
Scott Piepkorn2 / 2

Job seekers have a new ally.

Scott Piepkorn, an employment counselor with Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (CEP), will offer free assistance two days a week.

As of May 30, he has set up "a mobile workforce site" at the Park Rapids Area Library.

Rural Minnesota CEP is a private, non-profit corporation that provides job development services in north-central and west-central Minnesota. Its mission is to help individuals find, get and keep jobs and grow in their careers. The agency also help employers find and keep workers.

Rural Minnesota CEP was incorporated in 1968 to operate employment and training programs, which include Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) services. It covers a 19-county area — from Lake of the Woods to Pope counties and Clay to Crow Wing counties.

Whether you are job seeking, looking to improve your current employment situation or have been laid-off, Piepkorn can help. He assists with job searches, online job applications, resume and cover letter writing, career exploration, skills identification and job interviewing skills, among other things.

"It's an employment services program. We're the place to go if you have any questions that are job-related," he said. "It's all free."

On Tuesday, for instance, he helped someone answer a couple of difficult interview questions. For another person, Piepkorn provided information about unemployment insurance.

The "mobile workforce site" is a fairly new concept, he said.

A similar outreach program at the Staples Public Library proved successful over the past two years, so Rural Minnesota CEP expanded the program to Park Rapids.

Rural Minnesota CEP manages Minnesota WorkForce Centers in Wadena, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Alexandria, Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Little Falls and Moorhead.

Park Rapids falls within the Wadena WorkForce Center's region.

"Our territories are huge," Piepkorn said. "We just feel Hubbard County was underserved for the population and we want to get a better connection up here."

The Park Rapids Library was selected as a mobile site so job seekers won't have to travel to the Wadena or Bemidji WorkForce Centers.

Piepkorn's presence is intended to be permanent, as long as it works.

Thanks to the library's public computers and internet access, he can help job seekers search, the state's online job bank, plus other employment websites. He'll also help find local employers that are hiring.

"I have a lot of experience in what people are going through. I'm just here to help with what they need," he said.

Piepkorn is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Call him at 218-849-0210 or stop in the library with questions.