Workforce Corner: Industry and targeted population specialists identify company needsRoughly one in four Americans — 28 percent — believes that focusing on creating more or better jobs would be the best way to improve the economy, according to a recent Gallop poll.
By: By Mari Kay-Nabozny, Superior Telegram
Roughly one in four Americans — 28 percent — believes that focusing on creating more or better jobs would be the best way to improve the economy, according to a recent Gallop poll. Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program Inc. and Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board Inc. have developed a new service delivery model with an emphasis on specific industries and demographics to better face current workforce development and economic climates. The industry and targeted population specialists team’s mission is to determine and focus on the needs of specific industries and assistance of targeted demographics.
The industry and targeted population specialists collaborate in cross-functioning teams to provide a connection between employers and jobseekers. Part of this effort will be eliminating barriers to employment, including knowledge, education, skills, perceptions and misconceptions.
CEP Inc.’s new focused initiatives manager, Carrie Miller, is charged with creating solutions for the identified workforce needs of industry sectors and targeted populations through the development and management of special projects. By collaborating with industry sectors, CEP Inc. staff’s goal is to develop special projects to meet the demands of regional employers.
“My role is to see the broader business picture, to conceptualize new models and systems that will allow us to bring industries together to help make them stronger and more sustainable,” said Miller. “By focusing on these specific industries and targeted populations we can make a more concentrated difference. We want to work closely with employers, job seekers, and centers of higher education to make sure we have a strong and skilled regional workforce.”
The industry specialists will assess the needs of industries and northwest Wisconsin’s top employers and determine how to address identified needs and provide effective and efficient solutions. Some of these solutions include workshops and training focused on supervising to enhance leadership knowledge and techniques, addressing skills gaps within a current workforce, and utilizing regional technical colleges to funnel their current and future students into specialized or customized trainings to match industry demands. Health care, hospitality, transportation, and manufacturing industry sectors each have an industry specialist assigned to concentrate on their needs. Other industries that do not fall under these categories are still eligible for services.
“This team will take creative and innovative approaches to solving the needs and barriers of employers and their current and future workforce,” said Bradford Gingras, Chief Operating Officer. “The vision of this new delivery model is that CEP, Inc. will become the first thought or the first agency that employers and job seekers come to in order to improve and strengthen their workforce and skills.”
Targeted Population Specialists focus is on eliminating employment barriers of specific demographics including offenders, individuals with disabilities, and youth. The Targeted Population Specialists will connect these populations to employers through On-the-Job Training and Work Experience programs, mentoring, workshops, and classroom trainings along with other creative approaches. These specialists will also provide job preparation and work placement services to these populations while working with the Department of Corrections and Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s procedures. This will be achieved by coordinating with employers and other agency partnerships. In addition to these initiatives, youth will receive presentations by CEP, Inc. staff on the essentials of a job search, creating a resume, filling out applications, the interview process, and career pathway information, focusing particularly on healthcare and manufacturing among other industries. CEP, Inc. Youth Services staff will also work with regional schools and employers to create a connection between the two in order to deliver quality programming and provide students with more hands on opportunities.
“Creativity, innovation, and effective service delivery are crucial elements to building our regional workforce. Over $1.1 billion has already been cut from federal workforce development funding since Fiscal Year 2010,” said Mari Kay-Nabozny, Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. “Wisconsin’s workers depend on us to help them get the education and training services they need.”
For more information about CEP, Inc.’s Industry and Targeted Population Specialists Team, please contact Carrie Miller, Focus Initiatives Manager, at (715) 682-9141 extension 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.