The Pikes Peak Workforce Investment Board hosted the inaugural State of the Workforce event Friday, Sept. 5, at the Pikes Peak Library District’s Library 21c.
Dana Barton, director of business relations and employment development for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, shared the center’s accomplishments for its recently-ended program year 2013.
“The mission of the PPWFC is to connect vital businesses with work-ready job seekers and employer-driven services,” Barton said, adding 52 employees serve El Paso and Teller counties at five locations throughout the region. “We served 62,204 job seekers and provided employment resources to over 1,750 employers.”
Barton said the PPWFC has brought benefits to its business relations group by organizing 127 customized hiring events attended by 3,341 candidates. Barton said more than a quarter of the attendees were offered jobs.
“Last year, 40 area employers benefited from specific grant funding tied to on-the-job training,” she said. “These employers received a wage reimbursement of up to 90 percent to offset the high cost of training a new employee. In addition, we funded advanced technical training for 49 unemployed individuals to upgrade their skills and become better qualified for in-demand jobs.”
Traci Marques, customer service and community outreach director for the PPWFC, spoke of the organization’s goals and added the center is already expanding its offerings.
“In an effort to assist the over 400 military members who will be transitioning out of the military each month, the Workforce Center created a new position — Military Transition Specialist,” she said. “Starting in October, this person will be partnering with Fort Carson and other local military installations. This person will have the capability of helping all veterans and their spouses in career searches, career exploration, federal jobs, and translating military skills to the civilian world, both in our community and nationwide.
Marques did not specify whether that role has been filled.
She did say the PPWFC will continue to “participate in statewide efforts of creating sector partnerships. Sector partnerships are recognized nationally as a proven and effective model and a key component of state economic vitality. Sectors are business driven with the support of all relevant stakeholders in the disciplines of education, workforce, and economic development.”
Marques said the region has an emerging advanced manufacturing sector and is in the exploratory stage of hospitality and health care sectors.
The event also featured a keynote speech by Thomas Frey, the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute in Louisville, Colo. Frey discussed the ever-merging digital and tangible worlds and the need to adapt to the declining availability of traditional jobs.
Frey said, over the next several decades, 2 billion jobs will become unessential.
The event concluded with the presentation of awards by Mike Lewis of KRDO News Radio:
- The Youth Participant of the Year Award – Ernestine Brooks
- The Youth Employer of the Year Award – Imagination Celebration
- The Adult Participant of the Year Award – Conney Seay
- The Employer of the Year – STARTEK.
- The Employee of the Year Award – John Craig
- The Champion for Prosperity Award – Colorado Springs School District 11 – Career Pathways Program
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center connects vital businesses with work-ready job seekers and employer-driven services. More information about the Pikes Peak Workforce Center can be found online at ppwfc.org.