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The Missouri Job Center has temporarily closed its offices to the public in Springfield and Branson, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to close the south Springfield office at 2900 E. Sunshine St. and the Branson affiliate office at 2720 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway was effective March 20, according to a news release. Job Center employees continue to work in both offices to assist the public by phone or email.
It was the second announced closure for the Missouri Job Center last week, as officials indefinitely closed the north-side office March 17 at 1443 N. Robberson Ave., in the CoxHealth Medical Tower.
Roughly four employees from that office are now working at the East Sunshine facility, said Job Center spokeswoman Katherine Trombetta.
“As far as face-to-face traffic, that was shut down. That’s being evaluated on a weekly, if not daily, basis by the state,” Trombetta said, adding Job Center staff members are involved in daily conference calls with state officials.
Friday’s local announcement was made a day after the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development decided to close to the public all job centers in the state to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Since we can’t serve them face to face right now, we are referring them to the website to do job searching,” Trombetta said of Jobs.Mo.gov, the primary database Job Center staff use when helping job seekers.
Those looking for employment can create an account on the site and search the Ozark region for local job postings, she added.
By Friday, staff members were using social media to get the word out about job postings – an avenue Trombetta said gained attention. A Facebook post she made around 2 p.m. Friday of a few local companies hiring, including Harter House, Price Cutter, CoxHealth, Mercy and Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, had 282 shares and a reach of more than 18,000 over the weekend.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.