Stream surveying with electricity – (From left) Two Forest Service biologists, Nick Brown, Garrett Way, Chris Ferroni
Garrett Way, Nick Brown and Chris Ferroni, all of Cascade, may be “typical Idaho boys” in some ways, but their summer of 2015 was been anything but routine. As participants in the Workforce Investment Act Youth Work Experience Program, the three worked on a variety of projects with the Cascade Ranger District of the Boise National Forest.
They spent time in highly traveled recreation areas and worked in remote, pristine vicinities. It’s been a combination of physical labor, forestry chores and eye-opening educational experiences, all of which have contributed to improvements in the Cascade Ranger District and to the experiences that visitors will enjoy.
I was desperate for work when I contacted the Grangeville Idaho Department of Labor office over a year ago. I had been volunteering at a camp all summer and it had been more than six months since I had a ‘paying job.’ My family had just moved to town and I had applied to several places for work for a couple months with no results.
I met my new workforce consultant, Nicolle Long, for an ‘interview’ where we talked about my past experiences, what my goals were and what kind of job I was looking for. Soon after I was accepted in the Workforce Investment Act program, I received a call about a job possibility at my local library and we scheduled an interview. It went well and I started working about a week later. It was a great fit! Not only did the department find me a part-time job, but the Labor staff helped me step into a second part-time job a couple months later!
While many 16-year-olds are thinking about getting their driver’s licenses and passing pre-calculus, one southern Idaho high school student has much larger aspirations. Jared Lott, a junior from Filer, has big dreams of one day becoming a pediatric oncologist.
In addition to his full high school class schedule, Jared is taking college level medical terminology and health occupation classes and works at a local assisted living facility. In the midst of this, he had been fighting a two-year battle with leukemia.
On June 5, 2010, Jared was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In and out of hospitals, Jared missed out on a lot of school, but that didn’t stop him. He began teaching himself the subjects he was missing, even enrolling in a dual credit honors English class through the University of Idaho so he could begin to receive college credits.
Keith Jensen is a 19-year-old high school dropout who bounced from couch to couch the past two years, when what he really wanted was his GED and a job.
Reba Elson, a workforce consultant at the Idaho Department of Labor, helped Keith assess his skills and found he was ready to take the GED tests. He had no transportation so his case manager purchased a one-month pass with Treasure Valley Transit so Keith could go to the GED testing location and start his job search.
Reba mentioned during a staff meeting that Keith tested well on the math portion of his GED. Another staff member heard a local precision machine parts company was looking for an applicant who was good with decimals. Reba contacted Keith and the employer about the possibility of on-the-job-training and the employer agreed to an interview.
After Heather Fields enrolled in the Idaho Department of Labor’s youth employment program in August 2012, she worked part time at the Boise local office as a clerk – a job where she could develop important workplace attitudes, behaviors and skills necessary for landing full-time employment.
She demonstrated tremendous commitment during her work experience, but midway through learned she would lose her place to stay in Boise in less than two weeks. For Heather, moving back to California meant jeopardizing the positive path she was on in her new life in Boise.
Labor’s Boise office staff helped Heather develop her resume, provided job listings and employment referrals and spread the word internally that she needed full-time employment with a great employer – and she needed it quickly.