Rosemary Guida of the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board gave the Wetzel County Commission an update on Workforce activities during their Dec. 10 meeting.
She said that last year the board lost $378,000 in funding.
"We're kind of strapped for funds, but the state gave us an additional $100,000 at the beginning of November," she noted. Further, on that day Commission President Don Mason signed documentation for another $100,000 from the state.
Guida said they still haven't received expected federal funding-delayed since the government shutdown. "So hopefully this waiting list will get down once we start getting the money and we get people placed," said Guida.
The NPWIB is in Region 5, serving the northern panhandle. She provided a graphic to the commissioners that showed the region is meeting all performance goals, with the exception of retention rate of dislocated workers. It is at 90 percent, but should be at 92. However, Guida said that level is close enough to simply be in the warning area, not failure.
Rapid Response is a process that provides information and services to employees in the region who experience job loss. When a layoff is announced, Pam Hedrick, rapid response coordinator, links partner and community services to affected employees to assist them in securing new jobs.
Guida said that thankfully the area had gone for a while without major job loss, but this has been a big year for that difficulty, locally. The total served under Rapid Response so far this year is 467: 140 from TeleTech in Marshall County, eight from Chrome Deposit in Brooke County, 64 from West Point Products in Ohio County, and 255 from Ormet in Monroe County.
Guida outlined fiscal year 2012-2013 payments for the NPWIB to Individual Training Accounts training providers. This was the third year in a row that coal mining trainer received the most funding.
The commissioners thought it odd that coal mining would be the top training program, as it seems that the industry is being threatened. Guida agreed, but said the training recipients choose their programs. She added that some of the attraction might be that, "They have immediate job training. People really like that."
The listed payments are to Apprentice Institute for Miners, LLC (AIM), $227,745; All-State, $272,061; Belmont Technical College, $18,973; Big Red Truck Driving School (EGCC), $4,657; Eastern Gateway Community College, $8,684; Goodwill Industries, $4,750; John D. Rockefeller, $4,191; National College, $4,881; Ohio Valley College of Technology, $4,750; Ohio Valley Truck Driver School, $34,377; Penn Commercial, $4,296; Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, $145,698; West Liberty University, $22, 295; West Virginia Business College, $62,028; West Virginia Northern Community College, $102,949; and Washington County Career Center, $202,340.
The latter entry is of particular note as the WCCC truck driver training is located in the WorkForce office at the New Martinsville Plaza. "That's why they're wanting to expand. They're well pleased," said Guida of the Washington County Career Center truck driver training. She further noted that the figures are not even for a full year. It continues through June 30, 2014.
In Region 5, which serves the northern panhandle, there have been a total of 128 people-55 adults, 60 dislocated workers, and 13 youth (ages 19-21)-served by the ITA from July 1-Sept. 30.
Total customers served by the One Stop centers in the region are 7,521-283 new and 7,229 repeat. The New Martinsville numbers are 71 new, 1,620 repeat, and 1,691 total. A total of 15 employers have contracts with the New Martinsville One Stop. Guida noted the One Stop report includes unemployment, job service, and training assistance.
Getting connected with the oil and gas industry is a constant effort for the NPWIB. Guida said a job fair was held in New Martinsville. "It was just really successful," she noted. Other efforts on that front have included gas and oil handbooks made available for job seekers at each center, all job seekers seeking employment in the industry were registered on the ShaleNet US website, and companies were invited to attend Affordable Health Care Act, substance abuse training, workers compensation, and identity fraud trainings at the career centers.
A final focus area Guida discussed was the youth program. It is broken down into two providers: Youth Services Systems, Inc., which is year long, and NPWIB, Inc., which is the ITA program. YSS has had 116 youth of the 140 target participate. NPWIB has had 11 of the 13 target participate. Their year to date expenditures are looking good as well. YSS has used $54,800 of their $318,000 budget and NPWIB has used $19,543 of their $43,252 budget.
"We always have really strong programs out of Wetzel County. Your schools are always very cooperative," said Guida. "They'll meet that 140 goal by June 30, 2014."
Finally, the YSS is currently operating their Fall Works Program. "This is the first time we have extended the summer work program into the fall. It seems to be working well," she said. There are eight youth in the program and they are working at various worksites including the Wetzel County Courthouse and Sistersville General Hospital.
The NPWIV now has a Facebook page; find it under Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board, Inc. It will list any activities, functions, and cross training that are coming up at any of the centers.