Social service agencies need to improve their coordination efforts to more effectively serve low-income people. And a common contact point with a network for all services would accomplish the goal.

That was the consensus of more than 60 people attending a workshop on employment and training at a recent Utah Issues conference."Here's the real problem: If a poor family in Salt Lake County wanted to find access to all the services for which it's eligible, it would have to find and then stop into 18 offices all over the valley," said Garth Mangum, director of the Institute of Human Resource Management at the University of Utah and chairman of the policy and planning committee of the Job Training and Coordinating Council.

"Why not one place? Why don't we put together a package of services tailored to the needs of the people?"

To strengthen the JTCC, which brings together representatives from the public and private sectors as well as from agencies that work directly in job training and development, the workshop voted to recommend that it change its name to the Human Resources Investment Council and, reflecting that name change, assume an advisory role on all employment and training activities.

Several people who have been on public assistance complained that they were not given information about available services that would have allowed them to be independent sooner.

Julio Rodriguez, director of the Career Guidance Center in Provo, said that while agencies involved in self-sufficiency efforts give "lip service" to providing all available information to those seeking jobs and ways to get off welfare, "maybe on the front lines it isn't happening."

There is a desperate need for a "single point of contact" that would either provide information to the people seeking services and would coordinate between agencies or someone who would train public assistance case managers, a social worker told the group.

Utah Issues uses recommendations from each workshop to prioritize the changes it will advocate during the year.