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Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
Colorado Dept of Labor and Employment Eastern Workforce Center

Fort Morgan Workforce Youth Career Camp

Community Challenge/Problem

The rural areas of Eastern Colorado continue to experience large numbers of youth who leave the area after school and do not stay to work in the economy. Of those that do stay, many have not developed the soft skills that will allow them to be successful in their chosen career paths. The Fort Morgan Youth Council assembled to develop a creative way to address these challenges. The Council has representation from Morgan Community College, the Fort Morgan Workforce Center, School to Work Alliance, Interagency Oversight Group, and Senate Bill 94, as well as area probation representatives, regional education professionals and city council members.

Board Solution/Innovation

The Youth Council developed a “camp” that would expose young people to local employers by presenting career options with their companies as well as promote the positive life values of rural communities. Participating youth toured local businesses and participated in soft/work skills training. Employers were chosen based on growth sectors in the community. In all, 21 employers in the following sectors were selected: law enforcement; health care; production; and tourism.

Outcomes & Results

The youth who participated were able to see first hand the types of employment offered by local businesses. By seeing the opportunities available to them within their own community, they were exposed to new ideas about working locally that may give them more incentive to stay instead of moving away. They also received training in soft skills that can be applied to all jobs and used throughout their careers. Participating youth had the opportunity to interact with local hiring professionals and managers of businesses in a positive way.

As a result of the success of this program, the local city government decided to set up an internship program for area youth to expose them to career building occupations with local employers. The hope is that this city on the eastern Plains of Colorado can indeed grow their own workforce.

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