Vail Valley: ‘Jobs cabinet’ works on plan for training | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley: ‘Jobs cabinet’ works on plan for training

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado
Scott N. Miller/smiller@vaildaily.comColorado Gov. Bill Ritter speaks to a meeting of his "jobs cabinet" Tuesday at the Cascade resort in Vail.
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VAIL – Here’s part of the problem facing a state job-training group:

The group – the Governor’s Jobs Cabinet – has been working with various state agencies and people working with numerous programs, including the 19 regional Workforce Investment Boards.

But, when cabinet member Teresa Taylor asked 20-odd people in the room at the Cascade Hotel if anyone knew what the boards were, two hands went up.

Local restaurateur Brian Nolan – who owns five restaurants, is a longtime member of various local chambers and business groups and has a seat on the Eagle County School Board – said he’d never heard of the boards.

Melissa McLoota is a partner in HR Link, a human resources outsourcing company. She’s also a board member of the High Country Human Resources Association. She’d never heard of Workforce Investment Boards, either.

But the jobs cabinet – a group made up of state officials and people from private business and education – wants to use the boards as a way to help provide better, more appropriate job training for state residents.

Getting information out about the group’s efforts has led to numerous public meetings across the state over the last 16 months or so. Those meetings have led to a list of recommendations the group expects to have on Gov. Bill Ritter’s desk by September or so.

Ritter – in Vail to address the annual meeting of Colorado Counties Incorporated – came by the jobs cabinet meeting. He didn’t say much, but stressed his interest in the cabinet’s mission: to create a statewide strategy to get people everywhere in Colorado ready to enter the workforce.

Nolan, who said the Eagle County School District is now hard at work on programs that will help students get ready for work, asked if the jobs cabinet had made any contacts with the Colorado Association of School Boards.

Ben Curtiss Lusher, a policy adviser to Ritter, said the group has so far concentrated on working with community colleges.

“But the reality is that most kids paths have been laid out before the post-secondary level,” Nolan said.

Nolan added that while the cabinet continues to hold meetings across the state, it should also take advantage of the publicity it can receive from the state’s various industry groups.

That advice is the sort of thing the cabinet needs to hear, Curtiss Lusher said. That’s how the group will meet its goal of providing training for the jobs that employers throughout the state need.

After the meeting, McLoota said she was impressed with much of what she heard.

“I really like the opportunity to involve local businesses in a statewide program,” she said. “But people just don’t know what’s out there.”

McLoota said the people from the state group were good listeners. That, and a marketing plan, are going to be important.

“Local business wants to be involved in things like this,” she said. “The more people know about it, the more success they’ll have.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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