Moffat County program aims to prepare students for workforce

Dana Duran, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, said area students will soon have an opportunity to learn “How to Get Fired.”

“Sometimes it’s easier to teach what not to do,” said Duran, of the upcoming tongue-in-cheek tutorial.

“How to Get Fired” is just one component of Skills for Success, a program the Boys & Girls Club is sponsoring and launching next month at Moffat County High School.

From Jan. 18 through March 24, MCHS will host the after-school program in which high school students learn workplace skills.

Program organizers are seeking to enroll 50 students.

“It’s a work-readiness program that teaches kids some life skills, some work-ready skills, how to get a job and how to get fired, and how to have healthy relationships,” Duran said. “It’s a really nice, comprehensive program that gives kids a leg up in the workforce.”

The program is divided into five modules: goal setting, getting and keeping a job, technology, personal finance and healthy choices.

Local business and community leaders will teach the classes.

One of the business leaders is Jim Nicoletto.

Nicoletto has served for 25 years as chief union steward for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at Tri-State Generation & Transmission.

Nicoletto said he wants to teach students about the workforce because he’s seen what can happen to inexperienced workers.

“In 25 years, I have seen a lot of people be successful and a lot of people be unsuccessful,” Nicoletto said. “I want kids to know what’s expected of them in the workplace, and what their parents deal with on a daily basis.

“Kids don’t have a clue what it’s like to go out into the workforce and all of the sudden have to be responsible. I’ve seen a lot of them be unsuccessful because they’re just clueless.

“We’re trying to give them a heads-up.”

Duran said the program will offer incentives to students.

“We’re going to offer a paycheck,” Duran said. “So, if they come and complete a module, they’ll get paid.”

The payment is $20 in Craig Chamber of Commerce Spree Bucks.

Students will also be entered into a drawing for three prizes: a laptop, an Apple iPad and an Apple iPod touch.

The program is not new to Craig.

It was last offered in 2009 as the Earn While You Learn program.

According to a news release from program coordinator Susan Whinery, the previous program was operated by the Moffat County Work and Life Skills coalition with funding through the Moffat County Department of Social Services.

“Unfortunately, the social services grant that funded the program in 2009 was a one-time opportunity,” according to the news release.

“With a sluggish economy and shrinking funding resources, the program appeared doomed. Now under the sponsorship of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, with assistance from the Craig Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and private donors, the program has been reestablished on a much smaller basis.”

Duran said the business community has stepped up.

“They have put money aside for this program for three years,” Duran said. “We’re looking at running it at least once — hopefully twice — a year for the next three years.”

For the time being, the program is being offered only to high school juniors and seniors, Duran said.

“After the New Year, if the program is not full, we’ll open it up to sophomores,” she said.

Classes will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, or 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Applications are available at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane, and the Boys & Girls Club, 1324 E. U.S. Highway 40.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 6.

For more information, contact program coordinator Susan Whinery by e-mail at skillsforsuccess.whinery@gmail.com, or by text message at 629-5453.

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