by Adam Ghassemi
CHARLOTTE, Tenn. – Tennessee's current unemployment rate mirrors the national average of 6.3 percent. Both figures have been improving, but the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development is trying to make the number even lower.
Now they're taking help on the road.
"Career Coaches," or vehicles that create a career center on wheels, aren’t new, but they are headed to new places across the state this summer.
"You get to see everything from the big cities to every small town in between,” said Director of Grants and Special Projects Nicholas Bishop who drove through Thursday’s bad weather to Dickson County.
"A lot of people that we see, they're probably in their biggest time of need and they don't have access to places, to the services that we provide,” he said.
The group ended up in Charlotte, where the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. That's not nearly as bad as other places, but still somewhere the state wants to improve.
Career Coaches in West, Middle and East Tennessee are targeting 34 counties this summer. Many are rural or have high unemployment rates.
The vehicle converts into office space where interviewers can help people with resumes, job searching and even hook them up directly with employers, like Catilin Babin.
Babin is a recruiter from R.E. West Transportation, a trucking company in nearby Ashland City. People with at least a decent driving record could make $60,000 per year driving cross-country.
"It's a different lifestyle so we're always looking for people willing to make a little sacrifice to make the extra money,” she said.
Just getting this kind of access means applicants don't have to travel as far as 50 miles to the state’s brick-and-mortar career centers.
"It takes a lot of gas money to get there. So this is a lot more convenient and a lot more efficient and effective,” Bishop said. "We literally try to take the services to the people.”
The Career Coach may be coming near where you live: http://getonthecoach.tn.gov/