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PAWTUCKET â€” Stanley Banach III, an unemployed baker who was injured in a car crash, used to be able to walk from his home to the netWORKri office in Pawtucket, where he would bring his 20-month-old son along to look for jobs. Now, the young father complains that he will have to tote his son with him on a long bus ride to Providence or Woonsocket in order to do the same type of job search at another netWORKri facility.
Banach was one of a group of about a dozen protesters who met in the rain at noon on Wednesday to decry the closure of the Pawtucket career center and to urge state officials to find another way to provide similar services in the immediate area.
After today, the Pawtucket netWorkri career center at 175 Main St. will be closed. According to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, the closure is due to federal funding reductions and there is not enough money available in the current budget to operate the Pawtucket office.
The Department of Labor and Training told customers they may still utilize netWORKri services at the other career centers in Providence, Woonsocket, West Warwick and Wakefield. The department also recommends the â€śvirtualâ€ť career center that can be accessed through the Internet at www.EmployRI.org. Additionally, the Pawtucket Public Library on nearby Summer Street has offered its computer room and is also planning to hold job seeker workshops run by netWORKri staff.
Read more in our print edition.