In their meeting of Sept. 26, as part of regular business, the City Council received a periodic update from representatives of the Workforce Connections.
The group calls itself a “one-stop delivery system” in Southern Nevada and is tasked with connecting job-seekers to employers. While the roots of the group and its mission go all the back to the early 1970s, the establishment of locally-driven public workforce development systems was a result of federal legislation passed in 1998 and then updated and extended in 2014.
Executive Director Jamie Cruz and Irene Bustamonte Adams, deputy director and chief strategy officer, presented an update on the group’s activities as they appeared for the first time since before the pandemic. City Councilmember Matt Fox is involved with the group as part of the group of local elected officials that oversees the activities of the board.
As described by Cruz, Workforce Connections is one of 575 local workforce development boards across the country. Their main role is to serve as a kind of clearinghouse for the federal revenue streams that all seek to develop an effective and healthy workforce.
Rebranded recently and now called EmployNV, which is split into three sectors focused on employers, job-seekers and youth, the group has worked with the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce to establish one of the employer groups, called a Business Hub, in Boulder City.
A job fair in spring of this year in Las Vegas featured 135 employers and 2,800 attendees. Cruz said that 300 job offers were made on the spot and an additional 2,000 in the succeeding weeks after follow-up interviews and background checks were completed.
In terms of BC-specific activities, Bustamente Adams said, “We really appreciate our partnership with Jill from the Boulder City chamber to help us in serving employers. We are in conversations to solidify placing a business service person inside Boulder City so that your businesses have direct access to an individual who can do that.”
She called the group’s partnership with the Chamber of Commerce an “untapped opportunity”, noting that they plan to work with the chamber on things like local job fairs.
There is a job fair scheduled in Boulder City on Oct. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Elaine K. Smith Building, 700 Wyoming Street. Attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes and to be prepared for potential interviews on-site.
After lauding the group for its efforts to make a complete information picture available, Councilmember Sherri Jorgensen focused in on the subject of youth employment.
“I am stunned by the number of teens who are not seeking employment, to be quite frank,” she said. “And so I applaud you for going out and helping them to understand by going into the schools. Sometimes they don’t know what is out there for them. Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding how you could receive funds or training to be able to become something different that’s not just sitting at home, on the couch, gaming or whatever else you do.”
Chamber CEO Jill Rowland-Lagan came to the podium at the end of the presentation and continued that theme.
“Me being a parent who probably enables my child to not go out and get a job, I’m in the process of doing just that,” she said. “I’m kind of working the system right now so we’ll see if we can make this happen. But I think that a lot of those teens, we just haven’t pushed them to the next level and having some of these different programs and putting this right in front of them is really going to be a great way to not only help us parents kind of move on to the next step of what we need to be doing but also making sure those kids have all the information they need.”