BY DONNA WESTFALL
This was brought to my attention by County resident, David Olkowski. He gave me a letter dated April 29th this year that he addressed to Mr. Mike Costigan, Executive Director of Rural Human Services (RHS). In his letter he asked if RHS would please provide a community bulletin board for workers in the Workforce Center. David writes, “Up until a couple of years ago we had a public bulletin board in the lobby of the Post Office. This bulletin board was the center of public communication in the neighborhood. Typically the board was a patchwork of business cards, flyers of events, and hand written notes about things for sale, services, free kittens, etc. Every couple of months the staff would clear the board and the patchwork would start over.”
David continues, “There are currently no public bulletin boards suitable for workers to advertise their services in the neighborhood (yard work for example). Attempts to use the library and other bulletin boards around town have not been successful.”
That’s true. Not anyone can post just anything at the library. Usually you have to be a government agency or a non-profit to be allowed to post something on the library bulletin board.
Mr. Olkowski points out that the south wall of the lobby at the Workforce Center is large and comparable to community bulletin boards that can be found at Co-Op’s such as the one in Arcata.
Some of the reasons he cites to start a bulletin board: most of the clients cannot afford to advertise in the paper and a lot of people don’t read the paper. The same can be said of the radio stations and the internet. The Workforce Center already provides museum grade displays for employers job listings inthe lobby while workers get their names on a list that almost no one even knows about. There is no place for workers to communicate with each other about anything and the Workforce Center is obviously the most appropriate location.
He goes on that in order to generate enough traffick so the board operates effectively….. allow free advertising. The board needs to be operated as a safety net program. Even when the employers that you are acatering to don’t want the workers that you have, the workers that you have still deserve work. When your clients don’t find work they end up at Health and Human Services. Since Health and Human Services is in charge of safety net programs and already has staff in the room, it seems logical that Health and Human Services should participate in the management of the bulletin board. Your clients should be encouraged to use the board to generate income while the board is used to attract members of the community with money to spend.
David ends with, “The bulletin board should have many sections in order to attract different segments of the community. Sections of the board should include: garage sale items, vehicles, produce, live stock, pets, housing, healthcare, childcare, car pooling, clubs, services, employment wanted, events and media. A large number of your clients are desperately poor and they should be encouraged to sell produce from their yards, crafts and garage sale items. Self employment should be a priority without the usual emphasis on loans.”
I found David’s letter well though out and deserving of some type of response.
It is now almost 7 months later. I called this week and left a message for Mr. Costigan at RHS to get an update and reply to Mr. Olkowski’s letter. So far, nothing has been forthcoming from him or his office. Copies of his letter were directed to Tim Hoone, Workforce Center Director, and Gary Blatnick, Director the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Neither of those gentlemen responded to David Olkowski’s letter either.