State launches new job training program

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(Host) State officials are excited about a new job training program that they say could help potential workers and employers.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, people who complete the course will return to the work force with what amounts to a seal of approval.

(Sneyd) Everyone who completes the new Career Readiness Program will get a certificate.

Here’s why the state hopes that piece of paper will be significant. It will carry the assurance of state government and the Community College of Vermont that a prospective employee is proficient in a range of skills … from math to computers to basics like getting to work on time.

State Labor Commissioner Patricia Moulton Powden says that will make someone more marketable in the job market.

(Powden) “And then, likewise, employers, we hope will give value to that certification by either guaranteeing an interview or even offering a higher starting wage. We’ve actually seen that in other states that have implemented these programs, that some employers will offer a dollar or two an hour more to start because they know the person coming in with the certification is that much better prepared.”

(Sneyd) The new training program will be launched later this month at the Burlington campus of the Community College.

There will be 450 people in the first class.

Students will be tested at the start of classes so CCV knows where they need the most help.

They’ll be tested again at the end.

The state says those scores will be compared against a national database that details the skills needed in 13,000 different occupations.

Employers will be able to use the scores and the database to help match the best workers to available jobs.

But will there be jobs in this economy? Moulton Powden says there will be.

(Powden) "We’ve got in excess of 1,300 jobs in our Vermont Job Link right now as we speak and that’s only a fraction of the jobs we know are available. So, yes it appears bad, but there are still opportunities out there for Vermonters and we can’t lose sight of the fact that there are jobs being created in certain sectors. Software is one where there’s continued demand and as I mentioned health care.”

(Sneyd) Powden says her hope is that when the economy recovers and more companies are ready to hire, the new Career Readiness Program will have certified workers ready to go.

The program will be expanded to several more sites over the next few months so it’s available statewide.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd

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