• Workforce Development Center


  • Since 1996, the Workforce Development Center has successfully linked businesses to the public workforce system. Our staff works to increase business access to qualified workers, and ensure income eligible residents are prepared for the workplace environment, its responsibilities, and retention.

  • Color My Future! A Career Exploration Coloring Book Color My Future! A Career Exploration Coloring Book

    The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with its Workforce Development Center and Career Action Center at Poughkeepsie High School, recently launched its "Color My Future! A Career Exploration Coloring Book" project, with a luncheon celebration on October 25 at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.
    “Color My Future! A Career Exploration Coloring Book” was designed to educate, inspire, and engage elementary school children and their families on in-demand occupations within New York. The Career Action Center at Poughkeepsie High School recruited a group of five young artists to research careers and illustrate them using electronic tablets. The group worked together to organize career clusters that help explain the education requirements, projected growth, and average salaries for a wide variety of professions.
    “The hope is to impart dreams and aspirations in our youth at a young age, fill the gap in knowledge about growing industries, and maintain a strong and viable workforce,” said Chamber President & CEO Frank Castella, Jr. “These students took time that could have spent relaxing during their summer vacation to complete the artwork, statistics and design—we are all proud of their hard work and the dedication they showed to their craft and this project!”
    The project was made possible thanks to grant funding from the Workforce Development Institute, a statewide nonprofit that works to grow and keep good jobs in New York, as well as support from the Poughkeepsie City School District and Fidelis Care.
    The coloring book will be distributed to local libraries, community centers, schools, and other locations throughout Dutchess County. 

  • About Us About Us

    The Workforce Connections Program assists eligible adults receiving Temporary Assistance or SNAP benefits to find employment and build the skills necessary to retain a job/career path through education, job readiness training, soft skill enhancements, one-on-one mentoring, and case management. Workforce Connections is made possible through funding from the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services.

    Collaboration & Partnerships

    Program participants work to achieve a livable wage and successfully transition out of assistance programs. Case managers work one-on-one with participants to outline goals and provide the necessary tools to achieve them. Workforce Connections collaborates with other community resources to aid participants in achieving self-sufficiency.

    The Workforce Connections Program also partners with the Dutchess One Stop Career Center for workshops and other resources such as résumé and cover letter workshops, keyboarding skills, career exploration, and many other activities, which afford further knowledge and skills necessary for maintaining employment. Through this partnership, agencies and nonprofits pool resources to more effectively and efficiently serve the community.

    Through these supportive employment workshops and services, many participants work to move up within their companies and turn a job into a career.

    For more information, contact Director of Workforce Connections, Elizabeth Kwant at (845) 454-1700, ext. 1013.

  • Career Action Center at Poughkeepsie High School Career Action Center at Poughkeepsie High School

    The Career Action Center program offers intensive mentoring for juniors and seniors at Poughkeepsie High School. There are two components: the Career Exploration class and the Career Action Center.  The class prepares students for post-secondary education, assists with finding employment, and offers local internship opportunities while the Center, located in room 100 at the high school, provides a calm, creative environment for students to share daily accomplishments and obtain community resources, scholarship information, study skills, college preparation information, working papers, and more. This program is made possible thanks to a partnership with the Poughkeepsie City School District.

    To successfully complete the Career Action Center program, students must complete a 25-hour internship or volunteer opportunity and successfully pass the Career Exploration class.

    Internships/Volunteer Opportunities

    Internships and volunteer opportunities take place at various locations. Students are placed at sites based on their interest following a career assessment and meeting with the Assistant Director to assess the skills he or she wants to improve. After the opportunity is completed, it is added to the student’s course requirements and can be added to his or her résumé.

    Benefits of Hosting a Student

    By hosting a student as either an intern or volunteer local businesses and organizations help students:

    • Expand his or her understanding of and skills appropriate for the workplace.
    • Learn the ins and outs of being part of a team.
    • Choose a career path.

    Creating an Internship/Volunteer Schedule

    The staff of the Career Action center works with the student and the business site to coordinate a schedule convenient for both.

    • Popular times for internships or volunteer opportunities are after school (3:15 - 5 p.m.), during holiday breaks, and on weekends.
    • Students are responsible for reaching out to finalize the schedule.
    • Students should complete their internship within four weeks.


    Our program staff is available to assist with transportation to and from internship or volunteer sites, however some opt to walk or have a parent and/or guardian bring him or her to the site.

    Required Documents

    • Students are required to complete a timesheet, signed by the employer, documenting internship or volunteer hours. Timesheets are submitted once the experience is complete.
    • Students are responsible for bringing a Timesheet Folder to his or her site on the first day. Timesheet Folders can be kept at the site for the duration of the experience or kept with the student.
    • Each employer is required to submit an Employer Evaluation Form after the 25 hours is complete.


    For more information, contact Director of the Career Action Center, Katrina Gobins at (845) 454-1700, ext. 1005 or (845) 451-4939.

  • Adopt-A-Family 2018!

    Your business can make a difference for a local family this holiday season. With your help, children who may not receive a visit from Santa can wake up on Christmas morning with smiles on their faces!

    Sign up form HERE. Completed forms should be emailed to  elizabeth@dcrcoc.org

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