Meet Our Youth Staff

Photo of  Dulce  Alire
Dulce Alire
Employment Specialist

First Job: Food Service worker at CSU Housing & Dining Services

How did you end up here? My first job was in food service which at age 15 I actually enjoyed.  I moved onto office/clerical positions for the next few years of my life working for different types of industries. After getting laid off from an Architectural Company working as an Assistant Project Manager; I started working for the Larimer County Workforce Center as a Receptionist.  Today, I am working as an Employment Specialist with the Workforce Center and love every moment of it.

What do you love most about your job? What I enjoy most is assisting customers accomplish their goals in job searching and knowing that I making a difference in their lives

Perks outside work: Spending time with my husband and two children.  As well as volunteering my time to needed organizations.

Funny Quirk: When I am out walking and I see patterns, such as in the cement, tile, carpet, etc, I start counting those patterns in my head. The have to end in an even number and if they don’t, when I come back around I recount and make it end in an even number. 

Shauna Davis
Youth Employment Specialist

First Job:  Waitress at Lake Isabel Lodge

How did you end up here? I hold a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. My background for the past 15 years is in nonprofit case management and healthcare.  I have had an opportunity to work with young adults in both settings.  I have enjoyed helping others see their potential and empowering them to be their best. I was very excited to hear about a position on the YouthLINK team and I was ecstatic to land a position as a career specialist.

What do you love most about your job?  It is wonderful to wake up everyday and be excited about helping youth achieve their educational and employment goals. I am very privileged to watch youth create their journey towards a positive future. It is exciting to encourage and support them along the way.  What could be better?

Perks Outside Work: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, most of all, my daughter.  I am a huge Denver Broncos fan.  I enjoy being outdoors, cooking, watching movies, listening to music and reading.

Funny Quirk:  I like getting dirty, fishing and working on old pick up trucks, as much as I like shopping for shoes and purses!

 

Kayleen Edwards
Youth Employment Specialist
First job:  Deli/Bakery Clerk at Steele’s Grocery
 
How did you end up here:  Once I realized that education is one of my passions, I went back to graduate school and received my Master’s in Education and teaching license. I substitute taught in the Poudre School District for 2 years and I learned about a Youth Services team opening from a friend. The position incorporates many similarities to teaching so I applied and got the job!
 
What do you love most about your job?:  I enjoy kid’s motivation and dedication to pursue their career and training interests. I enjoy using my skills and knowledge to help them get to where they want to be later in life.
 
Perks outside of work:  Hiking and snowshoeing with my family, road trips, winning in my fantasy football leagues, bbq’s with friends and reading a book while sipping a latte in a cozy coffee shop. 
 
Funny quirk:  Every morning I wake up with a song in my head. It’s always a different song and sometimes it’s a song I don’t even like!

 

Photo of  Kate  Flattery
Kate Flattery
Youth Employment Specialist

First Job: Hostess at a golf course restaurant

How did you end up here? I worked through school in various service positions as a food server, landscaper, and phone surveyor.  I landed a summer internship at World Relief in Chicago with the refugee youth program, and discovered that I really enjoyed working with refugees and immigrants.  For several years, I worked as a refugee Employment Specialist helping adults from Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq find work in the United States.  I enjoyed working as an Employment Specialist, so I jumped at the opportunity to join the Youth Services Team!

What do you love most about your job?  I love being able to work in the schools, preparing youth for employment, and motivating employers to hire qualified youth.  I look forward to the Summer Youth Employment Program and Career Road Trips! 

Perks Outside Work: Traveling, hiking, baking cookies, running, and painting.  

Funny Quirk: I organize just about everything in rainbow order!

Photo of  Monica  Gingerich
Monica Gingerich
YouthLINK Career Specialist - Fort Collins

First Job: I was a hostess at Red Robin. Being at the bottom of the food chain, part of my job was getting into the giant robin costume and parading around the restaurant, scaring the young children.

How did you end up here? My first job out of college was working as a Social Worker in London, England serving young people placed in long-term foster care. Following that adventure, I went back to graduate school to focus more on counseling and career development. A stint at the CSU Career Center and an internship at Project Self-Sufficiency led me back to my passion of working with youth here at the Workforce Center.

What do you love most about your job? The best part of my day is getting to be there when the light bulb kicks on for a young person when he/she realizes just how much they have to offer, and all they can achieve given the right support. I get to help people discover their calling!

Perks outside of work: The outdoors! Camping, hiking, and helping out my husband’s competition BBQ Team. Inside I’m always reading a good book or surfing the internet to feed my interior decorating obsession.

Funny Quirk: I have this ‘thing’ with odd numbers. The volume # or station in my car or at home have got to be on an odd number. If I’m in someone else’s car, I have to fiddle with the controls until they’re set just right.

Photo of  Sandra  Jackam
Sandra Jackam
YouthLINK Career Specialist - Fort Collins & Loveland

First Job: Dishwasher at a Chinese Restaurant. None of the kitchen staff could speak English and they listened to Madonna all the time!

How did you end up here? I put myself through college while working as a human resource assistant at a plastics manufacturing plant. After graduating, I taught high school Spanish for a school year then spent the summer working in a Career Lab at an Ohio Workforce Center. For an adventure, I moved to Mexico and spent a year teaching English as a Second Language.  After returning to Ohio, I started working for the local county Job & Family Services in the child support department. Due to an itch to move out west, I landed a position with Larimer County Child Support where I came across the opportunity to work in Larimer County’s Workforce Center. I jumped at the chance to join this amazing team!

What do you love most about your job? Everything! It is exciting to work at a job where you can have a positive effect on someone’s life and your co-workers are passionate about what they do!

Perks outside of work: I love to run, bike, hike and other such exercise torture. I also love to read, listen to live music and create mosaic art.

Funny Quirk:When I don’t know the words to a song, I just make them up. I am really bad at it. I also like to add my own flare and vibrato to my singing. This usually results in the radio being turned up louder or strange look from whoever is in my presence.

Photo of  Mark  Johnston
Mark Johnston
WIA Center Manager

First Job: Cashier & Clerk at a local video store in Illinois.

How did you end up here? I knew that I wanted to work in a career where I had an opportunity to help people believe in their abilities and achieve success, whatever that success was. My careers have been diverse ranging from wilderness trip leading with youth, to providing employment and career counseling services. I currently enjoy supporting our youth and adult training teams as the program manager.

What do you love most about your current job? Lots of things! To name one, I would say I love having the opportunity to create employment and training services for people that truly make an impact. We are constantly adapting and changing to provide the best services possible.

Perks outside of work: On the weekends you’d find me with my wife and two boys doing something active. We might be hiking or biking, spending time in the garden, playing soccer or baseball, or cooking an allergy free dinner or desert in the kitchen.

Funny Quirk: I’m a fantasy baseball geek and I crunch player statistics daily. My staff know that I speak in metaphors to get my point across.

Photo of  Andrew  Minor
Andrew Minor
YouthLINK Career Specialist - Loveland

First Job: Schaumburg Public Library, periodical department

How did you end up here? I moved from Illinois and got a job working at Thompson R2-J School District’s H.O.P.E. program as a paraprofessional and a position with Starry Night Coffee Company. While working at the coffee house I met my manager, Catherine.  About 6 months later, Catherine left Starry Night to begin work at the Workforce Center, and I became the manager of the coffee house, while continuing to work as a paraprofessional.  While I was working at H.O.P.E., I planned a field trip to the Workforce Center to show the kids what services they could utilize to help them find a job.  Catherine led the tour for us.  Before we left, Catherine pulled me aside and let me know of a job opening with YouthLINK and she urged me to apply.  I did, and several interviews later I was asked to join the YouthLINK team!

What do you love most about your job? I get the wonderful opportunity to help young people make positive choices and change their lives!

Perks outside of work:  Spending time with my son, watching sports with my wife, being lazy with my dog.

Funny Quirk:  Monday through Friday I very rarely eat breakfast or lunch and will have a large dinner. On Saturday and Sunday one of my favorite things to do is to make a giant breakfast for everyone and then skip dinner.

Photo of  Maelly  Oropeza
Maelly Oropeza
Program Coordinator, Larimer County Youth Conservation Corps

First Job: Worked at a dry cleaners.

What do you love most about your current job? My job requires me to play in the dirt (trail work) and hike in some of the most beautiful places in Colorado.

Perks outside of work: Traveling to see live music, anything that involves a bicycle, basketball, and playing Star Wars with my boys.

Funny Quirk: I have over 30 pairs of shoes. I really think that might be a low estimate. I hate roller coasters!! My brain constantly counts patterns and things. FYI, there are 22 rows of overhead lights.

Photo of  Tanya  Perry
Tanya Perry
Technical Consultant (Supporting Youth & Adults Services)

First Job: I had a summer job cleaning rooms in a hotel

How did you end up here? B.S. degree in Sociology/Psychology.  I was offered a position as an intern with Job Service of South Dakota.  The internship gave me job specific experience along with an understanding of the Department of Labor programs and services.   I was able to use this experience to appropriately market myself for a similar position here at the Larimer County Workforce Center—over 14 years ago!

What do you love most about your job? I have always held jobs where I was providing service to customers; whether it has been cleaning for them, serving them in restaurants, or assisting them in clarifying their career interests and finding jobs.  I find value in providing quality services to customers, and the Workforce Center is all about quality AND service.

Perks outside work: I am a wife and the mother of two boys.  I love to spend time outside running and skiing.

Funny Quirk: I eat one boiled egg everyday about 10:00 am.  Always.

Photo of  Nicole  Surber
Nicole Surber
YouthLINK Career Specialist - Fort Collins

First Job: I cleaned/stained windows at a company that made imitation stained glass…I left each day smelling like mothballs.

How did you end up here? I went to Colorado State University and majored in Human Development and Family Studies. While I was in school, I did an internship at Turning Point working with at-risk youth. Shortly after college, I started at the Workforce Center. I held a couple of different positions before landing on the Youth Team!

What do you love most about your job? I love helping youth discover their strengths and talents and using them to market themselves to employers through resumes, etc. Its’ the best when the youth is able to step back and see how great they really are!

Perks outside of work: Spending time with friends and family, working out, shopping, catching up on my favorite TV shows. I also volunteer on Wednesday evenings with 45-60 preschoolers!

Funny Quirk:I have to have “equal opportunity” for my body. If something happens to one side of my body, I do it to the other side to even it out. Example…if I touch something cold with one hand, I have to touch it with the other as well. Balance is blissful!