Arapahoe/Douglas Works works, clients say

Federally funded program helps people seeking jobs

Posted 12/7/14

When Lynn Johnson’s executive position came to an end, she didn’t know it would end up being not such a bad thing.

“I got an amazing job, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Johnson, who is now making more money as the director of human …

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Arapahoe/Douglas Works works, clients say

Federally funded program helps people seeking jobs

Posted

When Lynn Johnson’s executive position came to an end, she didn’t know it would end up being not such a bad thing.

“I got an amazing job, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Johnson, who is now making more money as the director of human resources at a community college.

She did it with the help of Arapahoe/Douglas Works, which has a goal of helping people find jobs a level up from their last one. In fact, its recently released annual report indicates that job-seekers who utilize its services average nearly $14,000 a year more in earnings than those who don’t, adding up to a nearly $221 million boost to the local economy.

“It’s not just about turning lives around. It affects the economy in a positive way,” said Pat Holwell, ADW workforce economist.

Johnson was just one of 16,628 people that ADW helped find jobs last year, and about 16,000 of them were still employed after six months. It’s a federally funded center that offers free services to any resident of Arapahoe or Douglas counties who needs them.

“They were amazing, accommodating and welcoming,” said Johnson. “They provided me with all the skills I needed to be successful.”

She had been looking for about three months before she went to ADW, getting interviews but not nailing the jobs. ADW staff suggested minor changes to her resume, helping her make her message more concise. They even set her up in a professional office for a Skype interview, something her new employer said helped seal the deal.

“They said that’s one thing they really liked, that I wasn’t working but still looked professional,” said Johnson.

Joseph Barela, division manager, said there are lots of people like Johnson who need some coaching for the 21st-century job search.

“There are a lot of people who are out of work, especially with this last recession, who have never been out of work before,” he said.

ADW has programs targeted to youths, seniors and those receiving public assistance, but all are welcome regardless of how they came to be unemployed. Services offered include classes ranging from resume-writing to navigating LinkedIn, salary negotiation to Microsoft Word. There are job boards targeted to specific industries, with listings culled from national aggregators. It also offers funding for people to get job training that will help them advance their careers.

“The message we want to give people is that we can show you and educate you so you can make good, intelligent decisions about your future,” said Holwell.

ADW also works with local industry to determine specific needs, and can get people trained to fill them. They recently trained 20 people to become medical lab technicians. They all graduated and went from making about $11 an hour to $22.

“The demand is there,” said Yvette Yeon, communications specialist. “People want to work, and they want to work in good jobs and reach their potential.”

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