Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rumford WorkReady graduates 10

Since WorkReady was launched, back in 2006, the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board has now been part of 12 graduations, awarding 120 graduates the WorkReady Credential, signifying completion of the 60 hour WorkReady curriculum.

On Friday, perfect weather greeted us, as I was in Dixfield, along with Executive Director, Bryant Hoffman, to witness 10 graduates of the Rumford/Mexico WorkReady pilot, receive their credentials, in a very nice ceremony at the Bear-ly Inn, in Dixfield. The Inn, built in 1871, lent a touch of formality and importance to the procedings for the graduates, employers and partners in attendance.

This initial launch, in the River Valley Region, benefitted by its partnership with Nancy Allen, director of Region 9 Learning Center, in Mexico. Allen's enthusiasm, "roll-up-her-sleeves" approach to getting things done and attention to detail helped make this pilot one of our most successful launches. Additionally, training facilitator, Jolan Ippolito, brought a wealth of business and education experience to her task of preparing graduates for mock interviews, portfolio preparation and ways to improve presentation and selling the skills that each candidate leaves the program with.

Training programs benefit rural communities like Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield and the surrounding communities. As the area transitions away from some of the traditional industries that have played such a key part in the region's prior economic development. Even these traditional industries like logging, have been forced to change and adapt to technology, which now require higher level skills from workers.

[A truck loaded with logs makes its way along U.S. Route 2, in Dixfield]

[Paper production is still very evident in the River Valley]

WorkReady was made possible in the River Valley through Betterment Funds, secured by the Department of Education/Maine Adult Education, as well as a partnership between Region 9 Learning Center, Western Maine Community Action, the MaineCareer Center, the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. Additionally, special thanks is extended to Keri Osburn, at the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, for encouraging participation of the local business community, as well as River Valley Growth Council, for advocating for a pilot program in the area.

Finally, area businesses stepped up in a big way, as eight area employers and their representatives participated in mock interviews, on Wednesday, prior to the graduation, at the River Valley Tech Center. A hearty thanks is offered to the following companies for offering in-kind support by their presence; Mark Henry/Mark Henry Enterprises, Diane Perry/Franklin Savings, Anna Russo Bowen/Hancock Lumber, Hannaford Supermarkets, Cindy Giroux/Oxford Federal Credit Union, Colleen Ippolito/Northeast Bank-Lewiston, Jim Brown/Western Maine Insurance and Dan Pelletier/Oxford County Mental Health.Plans are being made to offer another WorkReady program in the fall.

[WorkReady grads and staff: Front (L-R)-Nancy Allen (Region 9), Deborah Koliche, Laurie Smith, Theresa Thibodeau, Marcie Conley, William Kelley, Sandra Nisbet, Lisa Doughty, Jay Walsh and Jolan Ippolito (training facilitator); Back-Jerri-Lyn Vaillancourt; absent when photo taken-Nancy McPherson]

[Bryant Hoffman and Keri Oburn (River Valley Chamber administrator) in conversation]

No comments: