WAYNE COUNTY—The Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance (WPWA) will extend its business hours to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays in September, allowing an extra two hours for underemployed job seekers who work during the day to build their career skills after hours.

“The unemployment rate is low, but that doesn't mean that people are working to their fullest potential,” explained Helene Mancuso, WPWA Director of Workforce Development.

Underemployment, as Mancuso explained, is when one who holds an advanced degree or training certificate is working in a low-wage job, not utilizing the skills acquired during attainment of one's advanced degree.

Often, these individuals are in the throes of debt repayment and need to work several low-wage jobs instead of one career to maintain rent, utilities, transportation costs, and sometimes families.

Finding employment on-par with one's level of education and training is not only a boost to one's self esteem, it “will also provide people with a family sustaining wage,” said Mancuso.

Helping hopeful career seekers reach this goal, WPWA, the Community Education Council of Wayne and Pike Counties and a PA CareerLink affiliate, is located at 92 Main Avenue in Hawley.

The CareerLink affiliate office is located at 650 ½ Park Street, Honesdale.

Mancuso noted the need for extended hours became apparent after a recent training kept the building packed well after 5:00 p.m.

The extended Thursdays are a starting point from which further operational hour extensions may be implemented if needed.

Those looking for help starting or furthering their careers can drop in or call anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during the week and 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

WPWA offers training programs, youth programs, provides help with job searching and resume building, and access to certified career coaches to help patrons find long-term, well paying career positions.

“It's a job-seeker's market right now,” said Mancuso. “You can really get a family sustaining wage within the confines of our county.”

Mancuso noted there are myriad positions in need of skilled workers within the county government.

These include corrections officers and county caseworkers.

Other local employment is available for those with engineering and other high-level mathematics degrees, said Mancuso.

More information regarding the Workforce Alliance is available by calling 570-390-7613 or visiting www.wpworkforce.org.