With the deadline looming for the federal government to avoid a shutdown, WorkForce Central released a statement today saying it’s hopeful a shutdown won’t happen but is preparing for that very possibility.

“As always, providing services to job seekers, workers and businesses remains our No. 1 priority,” said the email from Workforce Central, an initiative to advance Pierce County’s workforce development system. As with any organization that receives government funds, a shutdown could trigger service reductions and other cutbacks.

“We remain hopeful that a resolution can be reached before the Friday, Jan. 19 deadline, and we believe our cash-on-hand capacity will allow us to withstand a brief shutdown without limiting or reducing services,” the release continued.

“However, it is possible that a prolonged shutdown could force our service providers to limit services or put a hold on accepting new enrollees, as many of our services are federally funded. In the event of a shutdown, WorkForce Central and its contracted service providers would be limited to cash-on-hand, and would not be able to draw any new funding from federal sources.”

“Any time our funding is limited, our priority is to ensure we continue serving job seekers, workers and businesses to the fullest extent of our capacity,” added Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “If the federal government does shut down, we will continue to provide these services for as long as our cash-on-hand will allow. However, we are also preparing a contingency plan in the event of a shutdown that lasts longer than a few weeks, and will work to keep the Pierce County community informed about what those next steps will be.”

In the event of a shutdown, the WorkSource Pierce Job Center will remain open and fully operational from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until lack of funding requires a reduction in services. WorkForce Central will continue to evaluate its service-delivery capacity throughout any government shutdown, and will announce any future decisions about service-delivery reductions as soon as possible.