Unlocking Weber County’s workforce potential
by Melissa Freigang, Vice President, Social Innovation and Workforce Initiatives
Concerns about the shortage of skilled labor in our community continue to be expressed. And we don’t have to look far to see the effects of intergenerational poverty or IGP. Meeting these challenges head-on requires innovation. The Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce 2018 Leadership Northern Utah class, or LNU, has partnered with Weber County to take this on—in particular—to address the talent shortage and help alleviate IGP. And you can help.
LNU is a year-long program that brings individuals together to enhance and apply their leadership skills to benefit the community. The LNU cohort typically chooses a large community project that can be completed within an academic year. This year, our group has chosen a longer-term project. The LNU Class of 2018 is piloting a workforce pipeline project that taps into an alternative workforce channel composed of our most vulnerable neighbors, to match them with employers.
This project taps into the hidden talent within our IGP community as a potential, non-traditional workforce pipeline. The project allows the public and private sectors to participate in a meaningful way to help those within this demographic to move toward self-sufficiency. This happens by establishing a career path and by engaging employers that have specific labor needs.
Who is this IGP demographic? IGP is defined as the cycle of poverty when at least one family member has received public assistance for at least 12 months as an adult and as a child. The Career Path Partnership Program (C3P) has been developed to open the doors of opportunity for those who are in this category.
C3P is a pilot project that includes support to the partnering employers by providing IGP participants with employability skills development—technical, soft and life skills—and any help they may need to be successful. This assistance could include support services to overcome employability barriers and integrated services from our community service providers.
Your organization can be part of unlocking Weber County’s workforce potential. The C3P program will identify IGP transitioning students or parents within a defined area of the county and provide employability training. This will facilitate the pathway to employment as described.
What employers can offer:
· Work-based learning opportunities
· Career path development opportunities
· Financial contributions to the program
What employers can gain:
· Access to an alternative workforce pipeline
· A career advocate who serves as the main point of contact
· A rise in the economic prosperity of our community
IGP is a challenge for our whole community, not just those who are caught in this cycle. When individuals can break the cycle of poverty, our entire community benefits.
This blog originally appeared in the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce Nubiz blog. To view this and other Nubiz blogs, click here.