NEWS FROM THE ROOM: Labor needs, vocational training opportunities

Looking at the various resources for finding jobs, one will find a plethora of “Help Wanted” ads. There are everything from general manager positions, clerk and administration positions, tourism-related positions including adventure guides to frontline, part-time, full-time, temporary and almost everything in between. The latest unemployment figures from March 2021 show that Archuleta County is 6.1%, compared to 2.4% before the pandemic in September 2019 and 3.5% in January 2020. So we know there is currently quite a few people in Archuleta. County that could be used, based on historical data.

However, every day you hear how desperate companies are to hire people. It’s not that the job market is thin, it’s a shortage of people looking to find jobs.

There are also many job training opportunities for people. Previously, we talked about free distance education opportunities for residents through the Center on Rural Innovation / Generation USA. At Pagosa, I can’t think of a company that doesn’t train you to do a job their way. Of course, there are jobs that prefer experience, but there are plenty of places that offer jobs where you can climb the ladder so to speak. Maybe you start off as a busser or a dishwasher, but that leads to the job of host / hostess and waiter. Maybe you started as a CNA… but with a little more training you can move on to a master’s job.

Currently, there is also training at a regional institution such as Pueblo Community College for high demand industrial jobs. They also offer a career exploration event if you need help trying to figure out what might be right for you. An exploration session will take place on May 26 at the PCC Bayfield site at 110 E. South Street, all day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. When we say “job training” we don’t just mean our young adults looking for work when they graduate from high school or equivalent. These courses are open to people of all ages: recently dropped out of school, in their early twenties and thirties, or to anyone wishing to change careers. Current training includes the medical field which is currently in high demand.

Have you thought about a career as a CNA or MA assistant? And the EMS field?

For those of you adrenaline junkies, PCC is also offering Wildland Firefighter Red Card certification, a profession we know so important to the Archuleta County region. The Colorado Workforce Development Council also has a number of training opportunities, particularly in the hospitality industry through the Lives Empowered program. As an employer, do you want to help your employees grow in your own business? You can use this program.

Are you trying to learn some introductory skills to help you get that job? The Lives Empowered program can help. Not only do agencies like these offer training, but there are also scholarships and financial assistance for interns and apprenticeship programs that help pay for the workforce if you are ready to train. These are win / win opportunities for employers and potential employees.

What is your passion: numbers, retail, cooking, hospitality, medicine, organization or administration, working from home? There is a job for you at Pagosa Springs. If you think you don’t have the training, the chamber may refer you to an organization that can help you get that training or financial or labor training as an employer. Let the Chamber help you as an employee or potential employer. As summer approaches, we need to keep our industries staffed, our service levels on the rise as we seek to serve those who live here and those we want to keep returning to Pagosa year after year.

Mary Jo Coulehan

Mary Jo Coulehan

Mary Jo Coulehan is Executive Director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and also sits on a number of state and local boards.

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