Brower: Colorado Workforce Center offers resources for workers, employers | SkyHiNews.com
Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative

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Brower: Colorado Workforce Center offers resources for workers, employers

In my work with aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners I frequently find that many people aren't aware of a great employment and job resource right here in Grand County.

The Colorado Workforce Center, located at 469 E. Topaz in Granby, offers a wide range of services for employers who have jobs to fill and potential employees who are looking for jobs.

Even better, it offers these services through direct, personal and one-on-one counselling by a trained employment specialist who works in the office four days a week. On the other day she's out in the field talking to businesses and relevant agencies.

"I'm working to get the word out that I am a locally informed worker in the office," says Patty McCarthy, the Granby-based worker who has the title 'employment specialist.' She's lived in Grand County since 1999.

"I'm not an out-of-towner, as some have been before. I have experience living and working in this county. I know the ins and outs of working here so I can be a practical resource with local knowledge."

It will come as no surprise that perhaps the number one problem of businesses I work with is finding and keeping employees. It's just very difficult.

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This difficulty can best be seen in the fact that last week, when I was in the office, there were 55 open jobs posted for Grand and Jackson counties (the center covers both counties). Most of our employers are the victims of a resort-rural economy and must contend with a lack of affordable housing, relatively low wages and cyclical work cycles. These are just the facts of life for employers and employees.

McCarthy contends with these issues day-in and day-out. Many times, when potential employees show up at her office she has to be very clear with them about the need to have housing first before applying for jobs. Sometimes that can be a tall order, she says, but usually they work things out, frequently through shared living spaces. Once that barrier is out of the way, there's work to be had.

Employers suffer from the housing issue too. But McCarthy does counsel employers to be realistic about their employment needs. For example, she suggests they pay the industry standard (or higher, if they can afford it) and she counsels that employers do all they can to avoid burning out their employees. The main reason that she sees for job turnover is that employees feel overworked, so they move on.

The process for potential employees and employers is similar. Once in the office they register on-line with the state's employment web-site called Connecting Colorado. This is a database site that can link job-seekers with employers, offering a wide range of search and categorization options that can make the job of finding or filling a job relatively easy. The data base on the site has listings for the region, county and even statewide. Even better, once registered, an employee or employer can do the searching at home or at one of the computers available at the workforce center.

McCarthy is also trained in helping people operate the computers so even the technologically challenged can take advantage of the system. She also offers help on writing resumes, best practices for filling out job applications, interviewing skills and more. The center also offers weekly webinars on a wide range of job-related topics.

"There are so many programs that we offer here," McCarthy says.

"It's a hidden gem. We just want to fill jobs."

She can be reached by calling 970-887-1857.

Filling jobs is good for entrepreneurs and good for the local workforce. All of us want to keep the local economy humming along as efficiently as possible and the Colorado Workforce Center in Grand County is here to do just that

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at patrickbrower@kapoks.org.