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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Rural Consortium-Upper Arkansas

Meet Harbor Freight

Workforce Challenge

The Cañon City community was overjoyed at the news that a Harbor Freight store was coming to the city and was going to provide thirty good-paying jobs. When the Cañon City Workforce Center’s Business Services Team heard the news, they sprang into action by calling the stores in Pueblo and Colorado Springs to invite the Harbor Freight hiring team to take advantage of the services there. The Cañon City Workforce Center prides itself in hosting top-quality hiring events, offering candidate screening, and providing interview rooms and computer resources for applications in addition to training and assessment activities. The Cañon City Team met with Harbor Freight officials several times and developed a plan to assist them with all of their recruiting and hiring activities for the new store.
Alas, the plans for the Cañon City Workforce Center to host Harbor Freight’s hiring event went awry when the store’s corporate office in California decided, instead, to rent local hotel rooms for the hiring activity. Each successful candidate, according to the corporate plan, would then be required to travel eighty miles round trip to the Pueblo Harbor Freight store location to complete the laborious process for payroll enrollment, an online orientation, and new employee training. The problem was that the Pueblo Harbor Freight store only has two computers to process the thirty new hires. That created a logistical nightmare of getting all of the new team members processed and trained, not to mention the inordinate amount of time invested by the new employees for a total of approximately two hundred hours of travel and one hundred-eighty hours of processing for the thirty new hires.

Workforce Solution

Once again, the Cañon City Business Services Team sprang to the rescue by offering anew the services and resources at the Center.
This time, however, the Harbor Freight management team took full advantage of the services available at the Cañon City Workforce Center.

Outcomes & Benefits

For two months, Harbor Freight managers used the Cañon City Workforce Center’s computer lab, meeting rooms, and staff assistance to set up payroll and orient and train the new team members for Harbor Freight employment. By the time the store had its grand opening in December 2017, the team was trained and in place.
After the store’s successful opening, the Harbor Freight management team sent the following message to the Business Services Team at the Cañon City Workforce Center:
"On the behalf of Harbor Freight, we would like to thank everyone at the [Cañon City] Workforce Center so much for all that you have done for us! This facility is an immense improvement towards our community! To be given the opportunity to work with and at the [Cañon City] Work Force facility for two months all while watching how people’s lives have been positively impacted is truly amazing. We have been able to accomplish so much with the use of the computer room. Had it not been for the [Cañon City] Work Force [Center], we would not have been able to accomplish nearly as much. It would have taken us months to get this done and countless trips to Pueblo for 30 people if we didn’t have access to the room! The kindness shown to us as well as the never-ending available resources has made the opening process easier and efficient for both the company and new hires.
The Harbor Freight Crew"
Finally, the management of the Cañon City Harbor Freight store reported that there is an expected employment loss at their new stores right after opening that typically necessitates a renewed hiring effort for team members. Two months after the December 2017 store opening, not one single new team member has left their employment at the Cañon City store. The managers commented that the complete lack of attrition is a testament to the work ethic and quality of the workforce in the Cañon City location.

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