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Doyle administration continues Job Service cutbacks

Wisconsin's Job Service program is being slimmed down and the process will continue until the end of the year.

Job centers in all 72 counties are being consolidated in 22 cities and many centers are closing as their leases run out.

About 150 workers are setting up shop in local libraries and technical colleges.

The state is also creating what it calls a "virtual job center" online.

The move is designed to modernize the system which hasn't changed much in two dozen years.

But federal funding has been cut by 73 percent during that time, forcing the state to pick up the slack.

Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman says the changes will save about $350,000 a year.

Mark Johnson of Fond du Lac will keep having a job center close by, as he looks for work as a surgical technician. But he says job seekers in northern Wisconsin will spend a lot more on gas as they drive to the more distant offices.

Jim Golembeski, who heads a regional workforce development board in Green Bay, questions the value of getting job counseling on the Internet - at least for many of us.

Golembeski says it's harder than ever to find and keep a job - and people need personal levels of counseling.