By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
In looking at our Pagosa SUN classified section, one will find three pages of “Help Wanted” ads. There are executive director positions, clerical and administration positions, tourism-related positions including adventure guides to frontline jobs, part time, full time, temporary and everything almost in between.
The latest unemployment numbers from March 2021 have Archuleta County running at 6.1 percent, up from prepandemic numbers of 2.4 percent in September of 2019 and 3.5 percent in January of 2020. So, we know that there are currently a good amount of people in Archuleta County that could be employed, based on historical data. However, every day, one hears how desperate businesses are to hire people. It is not that the job market is slim, it is people wanting to be employed.
There are also plenty of job-training opportunities for people. In this column last week, we talked about free remote training opportunities for residents through the Center on Rural Innovation/Generation USA. In addition, Generation USA will be soon returning with another remote working training opportunity that a good number of Pagosa residents took advantage of last year. But what about our bricks-and-mortar places and service jobs? I can’t think of a business that doesn’t train you to do a job their way. Of course, there are jobs that prefer experience, but many places offer jobs where you can work your way up the ladder, so to speak. Maybe you start as a busser or dishwasher, but that leads to host/hostess and server employment. Perhaps you start as a CNA, but with a little more training can move up to MA employment.
Currently, there is also training through a regional institution such as Pueblo Community College (PCC) on industries that are in high demand. They are also offering a career exploration event if you need some help on trying to determine what might be a good job fit for you.
There are still two more exploration sessions going on: May 19 and May 26 at the PCC Bayfield site at 110 E. South St., all day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. When we speak about “vocational training,” we’re not just talking about our young adults looking for work when they get high school or equivalent certification. These trainings are open to people of all ages: recently out of school, early 20s and 30s, or someone looking to make a career change. Current trainings include the medical field, which is at such a high demand right now. Have you thought of a career as a CNA or MA? How about the EMS field? For those of you adrenaline junkies, PCC is also offering a wildland firefighter red card certification, which is an occupation we know is so important to the Archuleta County area. The Colorado Workforce Development Council also has a number of training opportunities, especially in the hospitality industry, through the Lives Empowered program.
As an employer, would you like to help your employees move up in your own business? You can utilize this program. Trying to get some introductory skills to help you get that job? The Lives Empowered program can help. Not only do agencies such as these offer training, there are also scholarships and financial aid to the trainees and apprenticeship programs that help pay for workforce if you are willing to train. These are win/win opportunities for employers and potential employees.
What is your passion: numbers, retail, cooking, hospitality, medical field, organization or administration, work from home? There is a job for you in Pagosa Springs. If you don’t feel you have the training, the Chamber can refer you to an organization that can help you get that training or financial or workforce training as an employer. Let the Chamber help you as a potential employee or employer. With summer coming up, we need to keep our industries staffed, our service levels up as we look to serve those who live here and those who we want to keep returning to Pagosa year after year.
Buying and Selling Your Business Webinar
People are always looking at buying or selling a business. The Chamber gets calls almost on a weekly basis with inquiries. If you are looking to buy a business or sell your business in Pagosa, the Small Business Development Center will be holding a Buying and Selling Your Business Webinar series. The webinars will take place on Tuesday, May 18, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and on Wednesday, May 19, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Attending both sessions is encouraged. Topics include the “Elements of a Business Sale,” “Business Valuation,” “Financing,” “Why and When to Buy or Sell,” and more. This is a free webinar and there will be multiple qualified organizations and speakers as your guides. Visit www.sbdcfortlewis.org/workshops to register for this important training and informational session.