CareerLink weighing relocation
Bucks County Courier Times
January 15, 2011

PA CareerLink Bucks County may leave the Bucks County Office Center in Bristol Township for "greener" pastures.

The Route 413 center has been home to the local CareerLink since the late 1990s, but director Norm Brewer said the office, a resource for those seeking jobs or career training, is weighing relocation.

"It's a matter of we've almost outgrown our space here," Brewer said.

The leading contender for CareerLink appears to be Bristol Township's Bridge Business Center, a campus of reconditioned Rohm and Haas buildings.

It has offered to lease the space for the same price per square foot that CareerLink currently pays, according to the minutes of the Dec. 2 meeting of the Bucks County Workforce Investment Board Inc.'s executive committee.

So far, Bridge has been known mainly for attracting alternative energy-related tenants like the Green Jobs Academy, which trains people to work in renewable energy, and Drexel University, which runs an incubator for green energy startups there.

"It'd be great to locate them here, where there's some cutting-edge job creation," said Rob Loughery. He's with Doylestown's Keystone Redevelopment Group LLC, which is redeveloping the Rohm and Haas site. "It'd be great to have a center of workforce development right here."

Brewer stressed that any move by CareerLink is at least a year away, since the state would need to approve the relocation and the agency would need a combination of grant funding and state aid to cover costs. He also added that Bridge Business Center is just one potential suitor.

"We're looking at several possibilities - and if it's even feasible to relocate," Brewer said. "Bridge stepped up and gave us a layout of where we could go."

PA CareerLink Bucks County uses 16,000 square feet of space in the office center on Route 413. It could use about 20,000, Brewer added. CareerLink helps oversee the Bucks County Youth Council Youth Center, which is in another part of the building.

"They fall under CareerLink operations, but they're in a separate location," Brewer said. "We'd love for them to be co-located with us."

He added that CareerLink has assisted a larger number of job-seekers this year than in the past and that has fueled its search for other potential spaces. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, CareerLink worked with about 28,600 clients, about 700 more than the previous year.

Loughery said he hopes CareerLink lands at Bridge.

"We're eager to work with them," he said. "I'm sure they have other opportunities. We think the synergies + there with the businesses, the CareerLink and the WIB (Workforce Investment Board) would be pretty dynamic."

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