Local contractors chosen for workforce program
VALLEY — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) announced the Colorado Works Subsidized Training and Employment Program (CW STEP), an interagency collaborative program connecting Coloradans facing significant barriers to employment with job opportunities. Launching in January 2018, CW STEP will help connect at-risk populations who are eligible for basic cash assistance from Colorado Works—Colorado’s federally funded program providing temporary cash assistance for needy families—with crucial professional work experience and opportunity.
CW STEP will be administered on a local level with state contractors working with county departments of human services and community based resources to offer a variety of services to help boost workforce development. Through a competitive application process evaluating services offered and relationships with local community leaders, businesses and stakeholders four local area contractors were chosen to operate the program from Jan. 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 including one in the San Luis Valley:
- Rio Grande County Department of Social Services servicing Conejos, Mineral and Rio Grande counties;
- Front Range Alliance servicing Arapahoe, Douglas, Boulder, Larimer, El Paso, Teller, Jefferson and Weld counties;
- Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado servicing El Paso and Teller counties;
- Hilltop Community Resources, Inc. servicing Mesa County.
CW STEP aims to support job-seekers involved in the Colorado Works program by providing them valuable work experience and marketable skills through training and employment opportunities. The program helps participants work toward earning a living-wage, securing permanent employment and creating a brighter economic future for their families. Participants will learn valuable skills to prepare for careers in industries with a demonstrated shortage of qualified workers, creating unique opportunities to fill employment gaps and drive Colorado’s economy forward.
“Colorado is known for pioneering and developing new ideas and programs that keep our state’s economy booming,” said Katie Griego, director of the Division of Employment and Benefits at CDHS. “Unemployment in our state may be down, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop launching new initiatives to put more Colorado families on the path to a stronger more secure economic future. We’re going to keep working to improve the quality of life for everyone in our state.”
CW STEP will offer several areas of support for job-seekers who participate, including:
- Subsidized Employment: time-limited, wage-paid work that helps chronically unemployed or underemployed individuals establish work history and develop workplace skills with a goal of obtaining unsubsidized employment.
- Transitional Jobs: a form of subsidized employment combining real work, skill development and support services to help participants overcome substantial barriers to employment.
- On-the-Job Training: combines productive work with the provision of knowledge and skills essential to full, competent performance on the job. The employer and worker/participant engage in a training plan with the goal of full employment in the position.
- Apprenticeships: an employer-driven, experiential learning model combining on-the-job learning as a paid employee with related classroom instruction in order to increase one’s skill level and wages.
- Internships: designed to expose the participant to the work environment, requirements and behavioral expectations of a particular occupation or industry.
CDHS will reopen the application process in early 2018 for two additional contractors to operate local portions of the program, and help more Coloradans develop lasting skills and earn gainful employment.