Nevada launches program to help jobless find work | SierraSun.com

Nevada launches program to help jobless find work

Anne Knowles
aknowles@nnbw.biz

RENO, Nev. — Nevada's employment division has launched a pair of programs to help those workers most likely left behind during the recession to find jobs.

The state's December unemployment rate hit 6.8 percent, the lowest it has been since June 2008 and down 2.2 percent from the same month a year earlier. In Reno-Sparks, the rate fell to 6.2 percent, down 2 percent from the same month in 2013, while in Carson City the rate hit 7 percent, 2.2 percent better than a year earlier. All of the state's counties posted unemployment rates in the single-digits.

In 2014, the private sector added 38,200 jobs in Nevada. Still, about 41,000 long-term unemployed individuals, people who have been without work for 27 or more weeks or who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, are still jobless, according to the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

So DETR has started up a program called Platform to Employment — or P2E — since being awarded a $1.8 million grant through the U.S. Department of Labor's Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program. The five-week program provides attendees with skills assessment, coaching and counseling to help them prepare for reentering the workforce after a lengthy layoff.

"It's about let's change our mindset about getting back to work," said Renee Olsen, administrator of the DETR's Employment Security Division.

P2E also provides a significant incentive for employers: The program pays 100 percent of a worker's wages for four weeks and 50 percent for the next four weeks. And employers are under no obligation to hire the employee after the 8-week trial period.

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It's administered by The WorkPlace, one of nine regional workforce development boards in the state of Connecticut, and it started with 25 people in Las Vegas, a third of whom were placed in jobs before graduating in December.

Two weeks ago, 26 more people started the P2E program in the first Northern Nevada class, being held in the KNPB PBS studios near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Olsen says she hopes some are placed in positions even before their March 3 graduation date.

"We're always interested in programs like this and I think this is a good program," added Carmen Smith, human resources and recruiting manager for Grand Sierra Resort, which is looking to fill about 100 positions.

Both employers and workers have to apply online at platformtoemployment.com to participate in the program.