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Jackson BellEarlier this month, on one of...

Jackson Bell

Earlier this month, on one of her weekly visits to Burbank’s

WorkForce Connection, Anne Maria Tafoya was perplexed when she walked

into the office.

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“I just walked in there like any other day and everyone was

staring at me,” Tafoya said. “I thought, ‘Did I do something wrong?’

"

But the glances were in admiration for the Echo Park resident, who

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was the 10,000th client to visit the center since it opened in

December 2001. Staff members, including WorkForce administrator

Yvette Ulloa, congratulated Tafoya and awarded her with balloons,

gift certificates and other small gifts.

The center’s office, inside the City Hall Annex at 301 E. Olive

Ave., serves those seeking work by offering free access to five

computers, phones, a fax machine and other resources. More than 300

local businesses post jobs at the center.

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Ulloa said the center, which is funded by federal grants from

Burbank’s Economic Development Department and the Verdugo Job Center

in Glendale, averaged about 100 clients per month when it opened.

That figure jumped to 900 after one year.

According to Ulloa, more than 50% of those who fill out a survey

say they have found employment through the center.

“A lot of people who have been looking for work for a long time

are now finding jobs,” she said.

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For the center to reach its 10,000-client milestone in less than

two years is a reflection of a slumping economy, Ulloa said.

Tafoya, who was laid off last year, is searching for a job in

public relations or the media. She started visiting the center a few

months ago, and now stops by about four to five times a month.

“I’ve been to other work-force studios around town and wasn’t

impressed,” she said. “But [WorkForce Connection] was clean, it had a

lot of computers and the employees were very helpful.”


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