Business-Template3-Blog

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 (www.allprowebtools.com) 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 dricci@larimer.org.

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 mkohler@larimer.org.

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 degravcl@co.larimer.co.us.

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

Business Group-Blog

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

Service Spotlight

Open House Poster 2016

Click to download event poster [pdf]

Job Fairs and Hiring Events – What’s the Difference?  

It’s been said that if you want to catch fish, you need to cast your line where the fish are. To find the right candidates to fill your organization’s open positions, it makes good sense to “fish” in the Workforce Center’s job fair and hiring event ponds.

Are job fairs and hiring events the same? No, but they do have a common goal – bringing Larimer County employers and job candidates together in one place at the same time.

A job fair brings multiple employers together in a single venue at a specified time. The benefits of a job fair include the following:

  • Meeting face-to-face to go beyond the resume and narrow the candidate pool before arranging formal interviews.
  • Attracting a large pool of candidates.
  • Reducing recruiting time by providing information and answering candidate questions. This ensures that applicants understand your organization and the job you are posting.
  • Reaching motivated job seekers proactively pursuing career opportunities.

Those same goals are achieved by a hiring event, but the big difference is that the Workforce Center hosts an interviewing event for specific employers who are trying to fill specific positions. At no charge, Workforce Center hiring experts will reserve attractive, conveniently-located meeting space and assist employers with marketing the event.

To learn more about these time- and cost-saving services, contact our Business Services Team at (970) 498-6665 or business@larimer.org.

Business Insights

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

PTAC Helps Businesses Mine the Gold in Government ContractsKathryn Rowe pic  

Bidding on government contracts can be a daunting process.  But help is now available to navigate through the vast array of challenges that pursuing federal, state, and local contracts can bring.

The Larimer County Workforce Center (LCWC) provides support for the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), a government contract assisting program funded in part by the US Department of Defense.  PTAC has opened an office at the LCWC location in downtown Fort Collins.

PTAC Procurement Counselor Kathryn Rowe guides businesses through the continually evolving path of pursuing government contracts.  She bridges the gap between businesses and government with free training services. Rowe provides Larimer County businesses a wide range of services on a one-to-one confidential basis.  “PTAC provides that critical component to successfully help small businesses compete for contracts,” said Rowe.  “We will tailor our services to the specific needs of our clients and train them to successfully market to the government.”

Although expanding into the government marketplace can seem like an overwhelming step, PTAC acts in a partnership role with businesses. Rowe can be contacted at 719-644-8210 or at k.rowe@Coloradoptac.org to schedule an appointment or to answer any questions area business owners might have.

Strengthening the Workforce

Popular Manager Training Series Accents Commitments and Accountability Paulette Hansen  

To say the workforce tiding is shifting would be a significant understatement. And as the tide shifts, managers face new challenges.

Paulette Hansen, the director of career development at Neenan Company in Fort Collins and the founder of Hansen Consulting, helps managers navigate through these challenges.  Starting February 19, she once again will be conducting the Workforce Center’s most popular management training course, “Becoming a Highly Successful Manager.”  Hansen says new managers in particular value the help they can get in coping with the changing workplace.

“Imagine that you are a strong individual contributor, and one day you’re promoted to supervising people that you’ve worked with,” says Hansen.  “Now you are no longer one of the gang, you are leading the gang.  And the expectations have changed, and suddenly you have to become good at managing others.”

New supervisors, she notes, now manage their own commitments and a network of their team’s commitments.  Hansen says “they have to get really good, really fast at making sure that others are doing what they say and when they say they will do it.” Giving feedback when employees miss the mark “can be really hard when you are now managing people that are your friends.”

In her “Successful Manager” series, Hansen teaches that the supervisor’s #1 job is to help others be successful, which requires giving specific, timely feedback about how they are doing. “I give new managers FEET – facts, effects, expectations and training,” says Hansen.

She urges them to use the facts of what happened, the impact it had, the expectations of what needs to happen, and then the tools or knowledge to be successful.

The “Becoming a Highly Successful Manager” series begins February 19.  To enroll in the series, visit LarimerWorkforce.org/Business.

The Big Picture

Adam Crowe (1)

Seasonal Employers, Start Your Engines!    

If you’re an employer thinking about recruiting seasonal employees, the green flag is waving and the race is under way.

Seasonal hiring offers a challenge every year, but marketplace conditions are offering special challenges this year. At the Workforce Center, our Hiring Services experts already are seeing more postings for seasonal workers, yet those postings are not attracting a high volume of responses because unemployment rates are so low.

What’s more, younger workers, usually a reliable candidate pool, are being drawn to a variety of activities other than seasonal employment.

Here are some things our Hiring Services experts are doing to help.

In early March, our Career Rise team will host jobs-related Open House events in Fort Collins and Loveland for youths, young adults and parents. Open House attendees will learn about summer job opportunities, internships and scholarships.

The Fort Collins event will be held March 5 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Workforce Center, 200 W. Oak Street. Loveland’s Workforce Center at 418 E. 4th Street will host the March 12 event, also from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Estes Park employers and nonprofit organizations will host their annual Job and Volunteer Fair on Wednesday, April 6, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Fairgrounds Event Center. As always, Estes Park showcases many attractive seasonal positions, while volunteer recruitment for the Estes Park Nonprofit Center is a new feature.

And our NoCoNet community partners will host their 2016 Job Fair on Monday, April 18, at 9:30 a.m. at the Faith Evangelical Free Church in Fort Collins. NoCoNet members and veterans will enjoy an exclusive hour of networking with employers starting at 8:30 a.m.

Upcoming Events

Becoming a Highly Successful Manager    
February 19 / Fort Collins                                     Workforce Center

Business Group-Blog

it’s your business, get connected: Business Newsletter December 2015

Service Spotlight

Internships Help Employers “Hire for Fit” Andrea Hoffman

Is your business growing or seeking a specialized skill set? Want to find the best fit for your team? You can address those needs by hosting an intern for on-the-job training with no out-of-pocket expenses.

The Workforce Center offers unique opportunities to connect with entry level candidates or experienced professionals. All wages and Workers’ Compensation are covered by the Workforce Center.

“An internship is a planned and structured training experience, not just a temp position to get busy work done,” said Andrea Hoffman, Internship Coordinator of the Workforce Center. “It’s an opportunity for both the employer and the candidate to see if the opportunity is the right fit for both.”

Hoffman said the length, schedule, and activities are planned to benefit both the intern and the business. The internship takes place in a workplace for a limited period of time, typically 3-4 months, as a tool to develop the intern’s work or professional skills, opportunities to network, and exploring a career interest, all while providing support to a business.

To learn more, review our Guide to Hosting an Intern

Business Insights

Hiring Veterans is More than Patriotism – It’s Just Good Business Sense 

Proclaiming the hiring of military veterans as outstanding employment candidates sounds like a great political talking point. After all, in election season, what politician on either side of the aisle would not want to show their support for the military?

Fortunately, the Workforce Center’s “Hire Our Heroes” program demonstrates that hiring veterans is more than just a political talking point – it’s a sensible business strategy.

Workforce Center counselors work with veterans in two ways:

  1. promoting the skills they bring from their military experience, and
  2. strengthening their skills to enhance their prospects as job candidates.

In 2014, the Workforce Center worked with 1,959 veterans or other eligible persons with career guidance, job search activities and referrals to employment.

One veteran wrote “Through the Navy, I was equipped with mechanical engineering skills that prepared me for life after military service., but at the Workforce Center, I brushed up on my writing and interviewing skills, and that made me more employable.”

Regional Veterans Employment Representative Shelly Thompson, a USMC veteran himself, can help you connect with talented military veterans. Reach him at 970-498-6600 or sthompson@larimer.org.

The Big Picture

Adam Crowe (1)

Strategic Alliance with Larimer SBDC Aids Area Employers

Strategic partnerships are critical success factors for any business organization, private or public. The Workforce Center happens to enjoy an excellent alliance with an outstanding partner in the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

In our December Workforce Center Spotlight on KRFC, Larimer SBDC Director Mike O’Connell explained the strength of our alliance and the mission of his organization.

Mike reported that Larimer SBDC’s mission is simple and straightforward: To help small businesses in Larimer County start, grow, and prosper. They do that, he said, through three different methods:

  1. Free one-on-one consulting to both existing businesses and prospective startups.
  2. Classes and workshops designed to improve business operations.
  3. Connections to all kind of resources: legal, bookkeepers, banking resources, and more.

Larimer SBDC’s one-on-one consulting is free to any clients who contact them. Their classes and workshops are low-cost offerings led by area experts.

The SBDC and Workforce Center enjoy a productive work relationship marked by clear understanding of our complementary goals. In the KRFC interview, Mike said “The Workforce Center is really our strategic partner as far as anything related to human resources, the employee/employer interface and managerial training. Conversely, we provide operating, consulting, financial and accounting, and sales and marketing support.”

The SBDC and Workforce Center are committed to making sure employers have the talent they need and that area workers find skilled work at a productive wage. As a key link between our two organizations, seasoned HR professional Stacy Stolen has joined the SBDC consulting team and now provides one-on-one business HR consulting help for SBDC’s business owner clients.

For more information about SBDC’s services, call (970) 498-9295 or visit www.larimersbdc.org.

Did You Know?

Private businesses in Larimer County are part of an Enterprise Zone and may qualify for incentives related to business investment, company expansion, and/or new business relocation.

Visit the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) website for a comprehensive list of business tax credits.