FLAGSTAFF – The Coconino County Career Center is launching an innovative job-training program this month to reach individuals ages 16 to 24 who are not in school and not working. StartHere offers these individuals training, resources, mentors, internships and jobs with community businesses.
The initiative kicks off at 2 p.m., October 19, in Bushmaster Park with a public celebration with food, T-shirt giveaways, pickup basketball and a hands-on spray chalk gallery.
“The County is reaching out to individuals who are not in school and not working, and providing a supportive environment for them,” said Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors Liz Archuleta. “We will facilitate a training program to connect the youth with local businesses so they can get job experience and learn new skills. This will empower these individuals to grow into an integral part of our community.”
The Career Center is building a network of community support for the program to help individuals gain work experience and exposure to career paths. StartHere has identified six career pathways in growing fields to train program participants in: manufacturing, property maintenance, health care, commercial driving, computer information technology and an exploratory option for undecided individuals.
“There is a shortage in skilled labor across the U.S., and Flagstaff is no different,” said Nestlé Purina Human Resources Manager Jeff Springborn. “As our long-time employees begin to retire, there is a high demand for new skilled workers in manufacturing. Because of this, we recognize that promoting and providing opportunities for training and career development is vital for the sustainable growth of our business and the manufacturing industry.”
Workforce Development Board Member, and Flagstaff Mayor, Coral Evans has been a champion for disconnected youth through her work with the County in the past and is a strong advocate for the new initiative. “I’m really excited about it, it’s long overdue. We live in a world where we expect everyone to graduate from high school and go to college. A lot of us don’t take that direct route. I didn’t. StartHere allows those individuals who don’t fit into a neat box of expectations to grow and take a direct hand in who they are going to be.”
StartHere will be funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) established by the federal government in 2014 to serve disconnected youth who are 16 to 24 years old, are not in school and not working.
“We are implementing a unique public awareness campaign to reach these young people where they are,” said Coconino County Career Center Director Carol Curtis.
For more information, call 928.525.4642 or visit StartHere.jobs.