One Idaho Department of Labor employee has partnered with radio station KBWE, Radio Voz Latina, to connect with thousands of Spanish-speaking Mini-Cassia residents on workforce issues and employment trends.
Chet Jeppesen, a bilingual workforce consultant from the Burley office, covers a variety of topics at 9 a.m. every Friday. The show was originally planned for 15 minutes but it proved so informative, it was increased to an hour.
According to Allied Media, Spanish language radio is one of the most effective means of communication with the Latino population and the large rural makeup of the Burley-Rupert area makes it even more effective.
Chet has used the radio show to build strong relationships within Mini-Cassia’s Hispanic community. “When the talk show first started we hardly had a listener call in. The Hispanic community is very private and even though the calls are anonymous, we still weren’t receiving any,” Chet said. “Now, we average around four calls a week. People feel comfortable discussing their questions and sharing their stories with me and I always try to help anyway I can.”
Each program’s message is carefully tailored to his Spanish listeners and is designed to educate them on issues directly impact their lives. “I push education quite a bit on the show. I try to explain the importance of staying in school or getting more education.”
One popular topic is workers’ rights. Chet discusses what steps a worker who is injured on the job should take and what a worker who hasn’t been paid earned wages should do. He finishes his sessions by providing resources and contact information for listeners facing any of the problems discussed.
Chet often challenges his listeners with different requests. For example, “I said anyone that doesn’t have a resume write it down, anything you can think of and bring it in to me. I’ll type it up and translate it into English for you.” The turnout was overwhelming. People who had never visited the Mini-Cassia office were walking through the doors asking to see Chet. “It’s all about getting people work ready. Our job is to help people gather the tools they need to get hired and prepare them as much as possible.”
Radio Voz has allowed Chet to serve a wider audience and he plans to continue his weekly talk show as long as he can. “I think this is an important step in reaching out to an underrepresented part of our community and creating a strong connection.”
– Jordyn Neerdaels, Career Information System user services