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Job Council, SOREDI to move downtown

The Job Council is moving from its longtime quarters on Market Street to three locations in downtown Medford.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. and the Intergovernmental Regional Solutions agency also are moving to the downtown core and will continue to share space with the Job Council.

The Job Council will shift 10 employees to the 12,579-square-foot Taylor Building at 35 Bartlett St., formerly occupied by Johnny B's nightclub across Eighth Street from the SOU/RCC Higher Education Center.

Jim Fong, executive director for the Job Council and executive for Rogue Workforce Partnership, said recent downsizing and a desire to be closer to people the agencies serve prompted the move from Market Street, where it has been since 1996.

"We had significant budget cuts last year resulting in a bunch of layoffs for the Job Council," Fong said. "We needed less space and had to find facilities that were more cost effective. We were scouring the area looking for locations to serve businesses and residents."

After meeting with county commissioners — who until recently served as the agency's board — and higher education leaders, the Job Council settled on the Taylor Building, while moving its executive offices to 100 E. Main St., on the southeast corner of Main and Front Streets. Classes for the Job Council's Youth Program, which has 12 staff members, will move to the old South Medford campus on Oakdale Avenue.

"There will be a substantial savings in rent," Fong said. "That's why this move made so much sense. In addition to saving $150,000 in rent costs, it creates synergy with RCC and SOU. From my perspective, the co-location has been a pivotal piece to downtown revitalization. Part of our mission has been to serve folks who need jobs."

Workers in transition and traditional students will benefit from the Job Council's shared presence with Employment Department staff.

"At the end of their training, they all need a job," Fong said. "We want to be joined at the hip with our economic development partners — matching the demand and skills required. That's the synergy and match we have to create. What we hear from businesses is they could hire more people if they find people with the right skill sets.

The Bartlett Street location, now being remodeled, will go into operation in late June or early July.

The executive offices will be moved the first half of June.

"We're moving whole hog with SOREDI and the governor's solution center, hoping others might relocate with us," Fong said. "That's how we will be able to serve business customers needing workforce training or capital in a seamless way."

Youth Program classes will be held at the Oakdale campus after Memorial Day.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.

Job Council, SOREDI to move downtown