How did PAWSC start?
The Portage Area Workforce and Service Connection (PAWSC) was created in 2020 by Chris Baker (Adult Services Librarian & Technology Coordinator, Portage Public Library) and Mark Jochem (Workforce Development Consultant at South Central Library System), when Chris realized how often patrons would become frustrated by being sent "back-and-forth" between service agencies while seeking assistance. Recognizing that negative experiences like these often resulted in stressful situations for everyone involved (and could even disincentize folks from seeking further assistance in the future), Chris and Mark worked together to develop a plan that might improve patrons' service interactions.
First, they identified a diverse group of area service providers who each specialized in helping people with specific needs (from applying to jobs and designing new resumes to food assistance, childcare, mental health requirements, and more), before reaching out to key members of these agencies to arrange a meeting. The group hit it off right away -- identifying multiple ways of streamlining communication, improving referral efficiency, and more accurately ensuring each agency within the group would have up-to-date information about other agencies' opportunities and program offerings. There were too many possibitilies to discuss in one meeting, so the group decided to continue collaborating on an ongoing basis; thus, the Portage Area Workforce & Service Connection (PAWSC) was born.
By continuing to work together, we hope to spend our money smarter for your benefit -- by eliminating service redundancies, more efficiently communicating together, and listening to our community's needs in a more holistic way. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you however we can!
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!