Portage Area Workforce & Service Connection (PAWSC)

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Welcome to the Portage Public Library's webpage for the Portage Area Workforce & Service Connection!

Our Mission:

To foster communication, collaboration, and growth between partner agencies in order to offer the most direct and accommodating services to Columbia County residents.

Our Vision:

To strengthen our communities by becoming the first point-of-contact for those seeking assistance, so that we may get everyone the help that they require as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Who We Are:

The Portage Area Workforce & Service Connection (PAWSC) is a collaboration between different service agencies -- a "referral network" of unique providers that each have a specific focus in terms of assistance offered. We meet monthly and communicate regularly in order to continue evolving.

Get Help:

‣ SERVICE FLOWCHART: We recognize that people oftentimes need help with multiple things at once. In consideration of this, we have created an easy-to-read Google Sheets "flowchart" which includes multiple types of service needs, who can help with what, contact information for appropriate service agencies, and more.

• CLICK HERE to access the PAWSC Service Flowchart

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(NOTE: There are two "Sheets" in the document -- a Referral Sheet, that is more "needs oriented" and helps people clarify where to look for help, and an Agency Sheet, which offers information about participating members of PAWSC. Users can change between these sheets by clicking on their appropriate tab in the bottom-left corner.)

We hope to be the "one stop shop" of service in the Columbia County area, so that even if your first point-of-contact in PAWSC cannot directly assist you with your needs, they'll be able to quickly and accurately refer you to an organization that can help. With PAWSC, we will do our best to help you thrive.

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‣ SERVICE NEEDS LAPTOP: The Portage Public Library has a modern laptop (generously funded by local donations) available specifically for workforce development and service assistance needs (in-library use only). The laptop runs Windows 10, has a camera/microphone (for teleconferencing options with appropriate service agencies), Skype, and more.

If you'd like to book a time to use the laptop, would like more clarification, or would like a service referral, please reach out to the Adult Services Librarian, Chris Baker, by e-mailing him at cbaker [at] portagelibrary.us, calling him at 608-742-4959 ext. 203, or just by dropping into the library. Chris will be happy to help! If you'd like a little more information about the history of PAWSC, click here!

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 (NOTE: Library staff are restricted in terms of how much hands-on assistance they can offer; that said, staff would be happy to refer users to other agencies within PAWSC that can help.)

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Participating organizations in PAWSC include:

  • WorkSmart Network: Provides Job seeker assistance, dislocated (laid-off) worker assistance, resume building, technology use assistance, employment referrals, and training.
  • Forward Service Corporation: Longer-term employment training, FSET (FoodShare Employment and Training), and additional support services.
  • River Haven Homeless Shelter: Short-term housing and assistance in enrolling in social service programs.
  • Columbia County Health and Human Services Division of Economic Support: Food, childcare, healthcare, and general assistance programs.
  • Portage Public Library: Information access, technology access, general assistance, and service referrals.
  • ... And more! There are multiple other service organizations PAWSC will refer folks to when the need arises. These organizations may not be a direct member of PAWSC, but are nonetheless excellent resources!

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Have any questions about PAWSC? Do you need assistance, or would you like to potentially get involved as a service provider? Contact Chris at cbaker [at] portagelibrary.us, or call him at 608-742-4959 ext. 203. Thank you!