WAG program aims to improve job eligibility skills 

TORRINGTON – There are a lot of complaints regarding the lack of professionalism among employees in a number of business environments today, not only in Goshen County, but across the nation. Seeking to improve the situation is the goal of a newly-formed body of business and
education leaders.
The Tri-County Workforce Committee was created through the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that was adopted in 2015 to meet the needs of job seekers and businesses in the 21st Century. It is federally funded and is designed to help youth and adults prepare for a successful working career. Several area employers representing local small businesses and industry conducted round-table discussions to determine key components of the local workforce and suggest ideas for developing training courses that would best serve their employees and customers.
Callie Allred, workforce specialist at the Department of Workforce Services in Torrington, said the local WAG consists of Goshen, Niobrara and Platte counties. Only Goshen County participated in this first exercise.
Attending were representatives from Banner Health, Eastern Wyoming College, Natures Composites, Olson Tire, Main Street Market, Wyoming Department of Corrections, Platte Valley Bank, Century Lumber, NAPA Auto Parts, Lujan Cleaning, and Torrington Disposal Services. Facilitators from the Department of Workforce Services, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Adult Education/EWC, as well as Goshen County Economic Development helped guide the discussion. Groups were rounded out by representatives from EWC, Education Opportunity Center, DVR, Goshen County School District No. 1,
and GCEDC.
Participants completed a survey that asked for the number of employees, preferred application process (online or in person), desired soft skills, training for soft skills, training by business, currently offered internships, in-house
 training, etc.
Allred said the response was almost unanimous.
“Applicants need soft skills training to be better prepared for the workforce,” she said.
As a result of the round-table meeting, Allred said plans are being made to address the concerns. This includes the creation of a “soft skills” training course.
Allred said soft skills are characterized as, “The things that employers hate to
deal with.”
She noted there was a resounding “yes” to hiring individuals from a certification program or course.
Consequently, a soft skills training program is being developed for a September launch. Among the soft skills suggested for strengthening through the program were: communication, attitude, time management/timeliness, problem solving/critical thinking, accepting direction/criticism, flexibility, work ethic, teamwork, appropriate dress/cleanliness, and cell phone usage, which was on 11 of the 13 survey responses. Others included planning for the future, complacency, wage negotiation, and understanding benefits.
WAG and the state Workforce Development Council expect these soft skills training and development programs will help build a more mature, responsible and capable workforce. Three potential groups of beneficiaries are high school seniors, incumbent workers, and out-of-school/non-traditional youth/young adults/students who could use a comprehensive job training course.
Allred said three models of training courses will be developed to serve these groups. Once the models are developed, they will be shared with other WAG members. Eventually, Allred said, “We will pilot each model in Goshen County and collect data and feedback from this process. Later we will implement similar plans in Niobrara and Platte counties.”
“Involvement of local employers is critical to the success of this program,” said Gilbert Servantez, manager of the Torrington office of Workforce Services. “We encourage involvement with the communities.”

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