Jonathan Shipley | WiscNews

October 7, 2022

Tracy Carbonara needed a job. The Wisconsin Dells resident worked in the restaurant industry for years. She managed a restaurant but lost her job and wasn’t sure what to do next. She was unsure what her next career move would be. She was at a crossroads.

She walked into the Sauk County Job Center in downtown Baraboo wanting help. She found it. After some training at nearby Madison Area Technical College in Portage, and a little work experience, she found where her career path would lead. It led her right back to the Sauk County Job Center. She’s now their career planner, helping others at their own crossroads.

“Everyone needs a little help now and then,” Carbonara said. “I don’t want to be the best kept secret,” she said of the center’s services. “We are a free resource for everyone.”

Sauk County Job Center is affiliated with the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin and part of the WorkSmart Network. They offer a wide array of services for those looking for work, or simply have a space to work. There are computers available, printers, email assistance, and more. There’s always someone at the front desk, like Carbonara, to help with a resume, or craft a cover letter, or direct people to unemployment services.

“We want to give them space and time to find work,” Carbonara said. They collaborate with many organizations and governmental agencies, such as Sauk County Human Services, Alliant Energy, Madison College, and others to get people suitable work.

Within the WorkSmart Network, the average wages reported by their customers is $24.78 an hour in their Dislocated Worker Program, $19.95 an hour in the Adult Program, and $16.66 an hour in their Youth Programs.

“We want to teach people that they’re skilled and those skills can be transferrable,” Carbonara said. “We want to expand peoples’ minds. Have you thought about this?” She, herself, didn’t think she’d work at the very job center she stepped into to find a job. She’s been at the organization five years.

The same goes for Lynn Meicher. She walked into the office, also, unsure of her next steps on her career path. She had worked in the corporate world for years and found herself within the office, unsure. She’s now Worksmart Network’s career services specialist in the Baraboo office.

“We are here to help,” Meicher said, as she helped a man at a computer terminal with his resume. She continued, “We had a call the other day from someone looking for a good winter coat. How can you focus on getting a good job if you’re worried about not having a winter coat?” Meicher helped them find a winter coat.

Through the WorkSmart Network, the organization serves approximately 100 people a year in Sauk, Columbia and Marquette counties. This, aside from those looking for job assistance at the Sauk County Job Center. With around 20 caseloads at a time, the organization works upward of a year with individuals in their pursuit of meaningful employment.

For those wanting to work for a good company, one is in good company with Carbonara, Meicher, and the work being done at the Sauk County Job Center.

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