Hire Colorado program aims to help with jobs | SteamboatToday.com

Hire Colorado program aims to help with jobs

Workforce center offers variety of options to aid job seekers

Jack Weinstein

— A new Colorado Department of Labor and Employment program will pay employers who hire temporary workers.

The program, Hire Colorado, is designed to put the unemployed back to work and ultimately position that person for a long-term job opportunity, said Brian Bradbury, an employment specialist with the Colorado Work­force Center in Steamboat Springs.

Bradbury said businesses that participate in the program provide employment and on-the-job training for about 32 hours a week. Additionally, the work­force center provides those individuals eight hours of training per week.

With so few jobs available, the idea is to provide workers with additional skills or help them transition into a new career, Bradbury said.

"Education and training have become a high priority for the Department of Labor and workforce centers," he said.

Unemployment in Routt County was down to 6 percent in December from 6.6 percent in November, according to figures released by the Department of Labor on Friday.

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But Bradbury said jobs are still few and far between. He said there are currently less than 20 jobs available through the workforce center as compared with as many as 100 during the winter months in the past couple of years.

Hire Colorado is paid for by $11.25 million in American Recov­ery and Reinvest­ment Act funding to provide subsidies to employers, according to a news release from Gov. Bill Ritter.

The release states that in the next six months, the program is anticipated to provide employment for 1,700 workers who qualify in areas such as health care, health care IT and hospitality.

To meet the requirements of the program, workers must have a child younger than 18, be a U.S. citizen, have a household annual income less than $75,000 for the preceding 12-month period, and be a resident of the region served by the workforce center.

In addition to Hire Colorado, Bradbury said there are a slew of other programs offered through the workforce center. They include:

■ The Workforce Investment Act, which was enacted in 1998, provides federally funded training in occupations in demand or that may come in demand. The program provides tuition assistance for two- or four-year degrees or single classes, as well as reimbursement for books and fees. Eligibility requirements apply.

■ Microsoft Elevate Amer­ica provides vouchers for free e-courses for a variety of Microsoft Office programs, Microsoft e-learning programs and certification for Microsoft Business. The program also offers training to provide other computer-related skills.

■ CareerReady Colorado Certificates are an additional tool for job seekers to demonstrate their knowledge of job-related skills. Workers are assessed in math and reading and certified in at different levels based on how they perform.

■ College In Colorado offers free pre-collegiate and other resources.

In addition to other resources regularly available at the workforce center, such as computer, fax and copy machine access, resume assistance and one-on-one appointments, other opportunities are available, Bradbury said.

"Another push for education and training, the Workforce Center is partnering more and more with the local community college," he said.

Bradbury said the Workforce Center has three upcoming workshops with Colorado Mountain College's Alpine campus. The first, which teaches participants how to design effective business plans, is from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the college.

A workshop about starting your own business is Feb. 10, and a Feb. 25 workshop will address basic computer skills. People interested in any of the three workshops must register with the workforce center.

For more information about any resources provided by the workforce center, call 879-3075.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

Upcoming Colorado Workforce Center workshops

■ Designing effective business plans, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at CMC

■ Education in starting your own business, 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at CMC

■ Basic skills computer class, 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 25 at CMC