Business Group-Blog

it’s your business, get connected: Business Newsletter August 2016

Service Spotlight -Great Job Postings Promote Your Brand

Great Job Postings Promote Your Brand   

In a hotly competitive talent search marketplace, how can employers stand out from the crowd?

Posting an attractive, attention ­getting position description is a good first start, says Marie Meier of the Workforce Center’s Business Services Team. Meier regularly assists Larimer County employers with their postings on Connecting Colorado, the statewide database used by employers and job candidates alike.

“With the unemployment rate so low, candidates may be more selective in their search,” said Meier. “That’s why it’s important for employers to develop a job posting that speaks most positively for the organization’s brand.”

Often employers list lengthy job descriptions which imply unrealistic workloads, said Meier, resulting in unsatisfactory applicant results, especially when the wage is being listed at $8.31 per hour or “Negotiable.”

“When employers fail to indicate an accurate wage, they may defeat the purpose of the posting,” said Meier. “In a low­ unemployment market, a job seeker may quickly pass on the low wage and look for postings that have a reasonable wage for their experience.” Additionally, wages are sometimes set based upon a national wage which may be under­compensating for our area due to a higher cost of living.

The Workforce Center can help you overcome this dilemma by providing you with regional and local Labor Market Information. Offering a realistic starting point will get more views to your job posting, bringing more qualified applicants. For more information about recruitment services, contact Business Services at (970) 498­6665 or email us at

Business Insights -Get Paid to Hire and Train Your Next Employee

Get Paid to Hire and Train Your Next Employee

OJT is not new. But Martha Hargraves is … and so is her offer to pay employers to use her On­the­Job Training program.

OJT may be an ideal hiring solution if your organization has a position budgeted at a later date and could benefit from the position now. Through Martha’s OJT program, employers can fill key positions with skilled employees and get funding support from the Workforce Center.

Martha joined the Business Services Team (BST) this year to champion the OJT program. She is a nationally recognized expert in program and community development. In her new role, Martha is targeting employers in manufacturing, healthcare, IT and transportation.

OJT benefits to employers include:

  • Wage reimbursement to employers for up to 50% of wages for new hires as they are being trained.
  • Decreased cost ­per­ hire.
  • Ongoing support from Martha and the BST staff during the hiring and reimbursement period

Meanwhile, the newly­ hired OJT employee enjoys added skills and a jump­start into an exciting career pathway with a new employer. That’s a win/win outcome for all involved. If you’re interested in exploring the OJT Program, contact Martha at (970) 498-­6651 or at

Strengthening the Workforce -LinkedIn Leader, ELEVATE Instructors Head Symposium Lineup

LinkedIn Leader, ELEVATE Instructors Head Symposium Lineup

As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is synonymous with workforce. As a featured speaker at the 2016 Workforce Symposium, Laura Williams of LinkedIn will share insights on how the social network is aiding a national movement toward developing a skills­ based workforce.

Williams is one of the dozens of thought leaders who will gather at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins on September 30 for “ELEVATE Your Workforce,” the 31st Annual Workforce Symposium.

The event’s breakout and speakers lineup will feature presentations by some of the region’s workforce experts who lend their training expertise to the Workforce Center’s ELEVATE Leadership and Workforce Development Training program.

Already slated to speak are:

  • Melissa Luna of Strategic Advancement on individual career plans.
  • Chris Cooley of The Breakaway Business on harnessing Millennial ambitions in the workforce.
  • Katy Piotrowski of Career Solutions Group partnering with Doreen Kemp of the City of Fort Collins on “Stay Interviews” to improve employee engagement.
  • Paulette Hansen of The Neenan Company on “managing up” through fear ­free feedback.
  • Chris Hutchinson of The Trebuchet Group on out come ­based organizational thinking.

These are just a few of the program highlights for this year’s Workforce Symposium. The cost for a day of professional development, with breakfast and lunch provided, is just $39!

Register for Symposium today!

The Big Picture -What Is a Workforce Symposium?

Adam Crowe (1)

What Is a Workforce Symposium?

This being our 31st annual event, we have a pretty good idea of how to define our 2016 Workforce Symposium.

A dictionary definition, though accurate, doesn’t really capture the feel of it: “a meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject at which several speakers talk on a topic before an audience.”

Accurate? Yes. Alluring? Not quite.

Ancient Greece and Rome had a pretty good notion: “a convivial meeting for drinking and intellectual conversation.” Given that our September 30 event is on a 5th Friday and ends at 2:30 in downtown Fort Collins, this one may come closer.

Here’s my definition: Gathering the smartest workforce minds in northern Colorado for lively discussions of today’s most important workforce challenges and amazing opportunities to address them.

Together we’ll take on the topics that confront us today and are looming in the future. A few that interest me most are:

  • Recruiting from “overlooked populations”
  • Diversity in the workforce
  • Millennials as employees and leaders

Don’t forget – we’ll break bread together during the day and adjourn in time for great socializing.

This year we are returning to a classic symposium format featuring keynotes, breakouts and ELEVATE Bytes, high­ energy 10­ minute talks. Every session will offer interactivity, so we urge every attendee to share questions and their best ideas.

See you at the Lincoln Center on September 30!

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events!

August 23  Millennial Leaders ­ Fort Collins

August 25 Thinking Like a Leader ­  Fort Collins  

August 30 Platinum Rules ­ Fort Collins

September 20 WY­CO Job Fair ­ Loveland

September 30 Annual Workforce Symposium ­  Fort Collins

Business Group-Blog

it’s your business, get connected: Business Newsletter July 2016

Service Spotlight -Elevate Your Workforce – Coming September 30

Elevate Your Workforce – Coming September 30  

Save the date – September 30. That’s when northern Colorado’s workforce experts convene at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins for “Elevate Your Workforce,” the Larimer County Workforce Center’s 31st annual Workforce Symposium.

Symposium participants will share and collaborate on innovative strategies in

  • Recruiting and retaining highly-skilled talent.
  • Understanding, leading and managing the evolving multi-generation workforce.
  • Organizational communication that builds strong cultures.
  • Partnerships and strategic alliances that add up to win/win for the regional workforce.

We’re seeking speakers and presenters for the event. If you’ve been inspired by a speaker at a recent event, we hope you’ll nominate that speaker.

And yes – that speaker may be you!

Calling all experts! If you or someone you know would be ideal as a guest speaker or panelist, please respond to or share this Request for Speaking Proposals form.

Mark your calendar now … we’ll see you there!

Business Insights -New Fort Collins Resident Finds New Career Pathway

New Fort Collins Resident Finds New Career Pathway

Tamao, a transplant from Tokyo, was working two part-time jobs and seeking assistance from Project Self-Sufficiency when she heard about the Workforce Center’s ReHire internship program. Supporting a young son, Tamao was looking for a career, not just a stop-gap job.

Her goal was employment that offered benefits to help her provide a life for her son here in the United States.  Tamao and Internship Coordinator Theresa Zabala got to work on that goal.

Determined to improve her employment situation, Tamao asked Zabala for employment counseling, support, and guidance.  Over the past four months, she and Zabala targeted her resumes, wrote cover letters, and perfected the online application process.  Collaborating with Project Self-Sufficiency to address her transportation needs, Tamao worked diligently toward her goal of a career with benefits.

Her perseverance proved successful. Tamao was hired recently by Colorado State University (her first choice of employers!) as a Dining Services Production Assistant Trainee on campus.  She will be making more per month than the two part-time jobs combined along with health and retirement benefits. She’ll also enjoy up to 9 free credits of schooling per year and 50% tuition reduction for her son should he choose to attend C.S.U. when of age.

Project Self-Sufficiency was able to provide a donated car for Tamao so she now has reliable transportation. Tamao is also at the top of the CARE Housing list and will receive the next housing assignment in Fort Collins.

Tamao said she is excited and grateful for the assistance she received from the ReHire Program and Project Self-Sufficiency in “starting my life.”

Strengthening the Workforce -Leading from Strength Improves Productivity

Leading from Strength Improves Productivity  

Many business leaders talk about working and leading from strengths instead of weaknesses, but do they really implement this philosophy?  When they do, says Bert Robinson teachingRobinson of The Corporate Core, they bring out the best in themselves and in others.

Just as important, they avoid awkward and even counter-productive interactions that focus on things people don’t do well. Focusing on strengths helps leaders cast team members in the right roles and assign tasks that tap their strengths.

Robinson invites area business leaders to join in collaborative brainstorming in a July 26 workshop, “Leading from Your Strengths.” In a facilitated discussion of not more than 12 leaders, participants will uncover their personal top core competencies that lead to improved productivity, enhanced communication and employee retention.

“Understanding your strengths will move you from what you can do to what you should do,” says Robinson. “We’ll spend time showing how each participant can effectively leverage their strengths in leadership.”

Every registrant will receive a customized Strengths-Finder profile and report to guide them beyond the workshop.

If you’re interesting in building on your leadership strengths, register for this workshop at our Workshops Page.

The Big Picture -What Good is Labelling in a Multi-Generation Workforce?

Adam Crowe (1)

What Good is Labelling in a Multi-Generation Workforce?  

I have a pet peeve – labelling.

Not the kind of labelling that helps you find what you need at the grocery store. That’s useful labelling.

But labelling people? Not useful.

And I find it especially annoying when labelling is used in the context of confining groups of people by age and other characteristics in the workforce.

The most recent example surfaced in an industry magazine article attributing communication gaps to age. The article showed a timeline of the birth dates of the various generations in today’s evolving workforce. The timeline, of course, identified age groups by their commonly-used labels, such as Boomers and Millennials.

The labels alone are bad enough, but the assumptions made for their descriptions were unfair. The timeline suggested Millennials “are said to be entitled and narcissistic.” This from an author who is not likely a Millennial.

Boomers, said the timeline, were “hippie kids” protesting with rock ‘n’ music blaring in the background. Were they all at Woodstock? I don’t think so.

During a round of self-introductions at a recent multi-generational training workshop, several Millennials said they prefer not to identify as Millennials, or as anything. Which I find interesting, since the article says that view is characteristic of Gen X.

So if we have to use labels, let’s consider meaning and purpose.

As our training workshops often show, business is the universal language of the workforce. Any employee, young or old, wants to know how their contributions are making a difference to the organization.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events – Save the Date!  Workforce Symposium 2016-September 30th!


Unemployment Insurance (UI) Chat is now available

The Larimer County Workforce Office along with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Unemployment Insurance Office is now offering claimants the ability to chat with a customer service agent. This service is available Monday thru Friday from 8am to 4pmMonday thru Friday at the Fort Collins Workforce Center (200 W Oak Street #5000). For questions, please call  (970) 498-6600

Business Group-Blog

it’s your business, get connected: Business Newsletter March 2016

Service Spotlight - Ecommerce Firm Taps ReHire Colorado Talent Pool

Ecommerce Firm Taps ReHire Colorado Talent Pool

Prior to her ReHire Colorado internship, Cherie Strauser felt she had little hope for a steady job, let alone one with a rewarding career pathway. Cherie had been out of the workforce for ten years, was homeless and faced background check impediments.

Now she has graduated from internship to employee, she’s living on her own, and she is rapidly learning new skills that she is confident will lead to an even brighter future.

And all thanks to good coaching and a progressive high-tech employer who understands the value of ReHire Colorado, a program that helps individuals facing barriers to employment.

In early fall of 2015, Cherie’s case manager at the homeless shelter recommended she try for an internship through the Workforce Center. Once she was accepted, things started to turn around quickly for her.

“Within a week of being in the program, I already had an opportunity to meet with Dave Kramer at AllProWebTools,” Cherie said.

The initial match with AllProWebTools ( was such a good fit that Cherie didn’t have to interview anywhere else. And her new job was even within walking distance of where she was staying, removing the obstacle of finding transportation to work.

“Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 was just a blessing, because I haven’t worked a steady schedule like that in a long time,” said Cherie.

During her internship, Cherie learned a wide variety of computer and office skills to build her professional profile. Best of all, she learned the AllProWebTools software solution, which led to her eventual hiring.

Cherie was AllProWebTools’ second intern through ReHire Colorado, and she was also the second hire the company made through the program.

“One of the most rewarding things that we do is help a fellow human being to grow in their skills and become more hireable,” said Kramer, the company’s founder. Kramer said ReHire is “a win-win for everybody. We’ve interned two people and we’ve ended up hiring both of them.”

And it’s certainly been a win for Cherie, who said, “It has saved my life, literally. This gave me an opportunity to get back on my feet and start a whole new lifestyle I wasn’t used to. It’s wonderful, and I’m so blessed that this has happened.”

For more information about ReHire Colorado and other internship opportunities, contact Dan Ricci at (970) 498-6654 or

Business Insights - Local Business Leaders Solve Engineer’s “Car Problem”

Local Business Leaders Solve Engineer’s “Car Problem”     Rotary car photo

Andy Osborn was having car trouble – he needed one!

As part of the Workforce Center’s up-skilled talent pool, Osborn is building his professional profile as a non-traditional electrical engineering student at CSU. Non-traditional? He’s raising three teenaged sons, but he has been trying to do so without benefit of auto transportation.

His car problem was solved through a collaboration among a local auto dealer, a marketing guru, a former Workforce Center employee and the Rotary Club of Fort Collins.

Sound confusing? Not when you consider how dominoes typically fall in our community.

It all started with Cjay Manthey, owner of Cutting Edge Automotive of Fort Collins. As a way to give back to the community, Manthey launched an annual program to award a free automobile to a deserving applicant through Project Self Sufficiency. When his business grew to a second location, Manthey expanded the program, too.

Kerrie Luginbill of Old Town Media, a Rotarian and special friend of Manthey’s, suggested that the Rotary Club of Fort Collins would be an ideal second partner. Luginbill connected with fellow Rotarian Lucinda Kerschensteiner, a social entrepreneur who reached out to her former co-workers at the Workforce Center.

And that’s how they found Osborn. His Workforce Center career counselor urged him to submit an application, and he’s now the proud owner of a Cutting Edge auto that supports work, school and life activities for Osborn and his sons.

Two important lessons sprang from this year’s program:

  1. Rotarians gained greater awareness about the variety of employer services offered by the Workforce Center.
  2. More important, we’re all reminded of the special things that can happen when Rotarians and other community service-minded people band together.

Strengthening the Workforce - Leadership Demands Interpreting Gray Areas

Leadership Demands Interpreting Gray Areaselevate_Blue

Companies across the country and even worldwide turn to northern Colorado-based business consultants to help them address their management and leadership challenges.

Fortunately, a team of those world-class coaches share their expertise as instructors in Elevate, our leadership and workforce development training program. With little or no compensation, these experts conduct workshops for two major reasons:

  1. As a way to give back to their community. And …
  2. Because of their passion for growing great leaders.

Michael Clingan, founder of the Loveland-based Claymore Group, fits that mold. His “Thinking Like a Leader” challenges managers and supervisors with case studies and simulations that explore the gray areas of team leadership, those tough decisions that are anything but cut-and-dried.

“Leaders must balance competing needs, resolve differences of opinion, create new opportunities and motivate employees,” said Clingan. “Those are the kinds of skills that go beyond assigning tasks and tabulating results. Unfortunately, too little attention is paid to developing these skills.”

Area employers have told the Workforce Center they have an increasing need for their supervisor and manager candidates to be better communicators and to engage employees in a way that brings out the best in them. Clingan’s workshops and others in the Elevate curriculum are designed to address those growing needs.

For more information about the curriculum, contact Mike Kohler at (970) 498-6658 or

The Big Picture - Employers Moving toward Skills-Based Recruitment

Adam Crowe (1)

Employers Moving toward Skills-Based Recruitment

The Larimer County Workforce Center has been selected as one of two pilot sites in Colorado for implementing Skillful, a Markle Foundation Initiative.  Skillful was previously titled ReWork America but has been recently rebranded.

This initiative is focused on addressing the national workforce challenge in hiring middle-skill workers. There is a paradox in the challenge. On one hand, employers report a talent shortage for middle-skill positions. However, many of those same employers include bachelor’s degrees as a requirement in job postings, thereby ruling out people who have the skills but not the degree.

The problem is more acute in Colorado. We have one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, but middle-skill jobs in Colorado take 16% longer to fill than in the rest of the country.

Perhaps the most appealing factor about Skillful is its big vision: To ensure access to opportunity, good work, and successful career paths for all Americans.

Skillful has created cutting-edge partnerships, such as an alliance with LinkedIn, to help middle-skill job seekers gain access to meaningful career opportunities and to provide local employers with a more qualified workforce, with emphasis in advanced manufacturing and IT. Skillful has also developed a number of assets that are provided for free to employers interested in skills-based hiring strategies.

Community leaders are invited to learn more about Skillful. Katy Belot of the Markle Foundation will describe Skillful in depth on Wednesday, March 9, from 9:45 am to 11:00 am in the Hearing Room (1st floor) at 200 West Oak Street in Fort Collins.

We urge you to discover how Skillful can assist employers and middle skill workers.  Please let us know that you plan to attend by emailing your RSVP to Cheryl DeGrave at

The official launch for Skillful in Colorado is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016 in Denver with Governor Hickenlooper.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events – March 2016 edition

Date Event Location
March 9
9:45 am – 11:00 am
Skillful, a Markle Foundation Initiative
200 West Oak Street, Hearing Room (1st floor)
Presented by: Katy Belot, Senior Manager,
Markle Foundation
Fort Collins
March 10 How Engaged Employees Drive More Profit Fort Collins
March 22 Employer Update on Unemployment Insurance Fort Collins
March 24 Enlisting Employees as Brand Champions Fort Collins
March 28 How Employees Grow Your Brand and Your Profit Estes Park
March 31 Engaging Employees in Profit Growth Fort Collins