FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Mayor Hickenlooper Kicks Off Stapleton Workforce Center Expansion
(DENVER) As part of an ongoing effort to better meet the needs of employers and job seekers in the Denver area, the City and County of Denver’s Division of Workforce Development is changing the way it conducts business by shifting to a business demand-driven system. In honor of this strategic reorganization, Mayor John Hickenlooper and District 11 City Councilman Michael B. Hancock joined the Denver Office of Economic Development and officials from Stapleton and the Denver Workforce Investment Board in a ribbon-cutting event on Wednesday celebrating the expansion of the Denver Workforce Center at Stapleton, 3401 Quebec Street.
Since its inception in 2002, the Denver Workforce Center at Stapleton has helped meet the training and recruitment needs of over 100 businesses and nearly 4,000 job seekers in the Stapleton redevelopment area. With 55 new computers, a new training room, and additional recruitment and interview space, the expansion will aid the Division of Workforce Development (DWD) in its goals to connect Denver residents with jobs and provide local employers a highly prepared and skilled workforce.
“This expanded facility – and our new strategic approach to workforce development – will make a tremendous difference in connecting local job seekers and employers,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “For the first time, we are reconfiguring our workforce centers to ensure that they meet the needs of our business customers who provide jobs, as strongly as they meet the needs of our job-seeking customers.”
The change to a business demand-driven workforce system – announced by Mayor Hickenlooper in his July 2005 State of the City Address – is part of a national trend taking place to make the country’s workforce centers more accommodating to the needs of employers.
“It really is a fundamental shift in the way the workforce system has operated nationally during the past 40 years,” said Cec Ortiz, Director of Denver’s Division of Workforce Development. “We’re putting ourselves in the shoes of our business customers by taking the time to listen to our customers and find the most qualified applicants possible. If the job seeker doesn’t have the skills to perform the job, then we’ll help them search for a position they are qualified for, or we’ll figure out how we can get them the training they need to meet the demands sought by our employers. The results create a win-win situation for both local employers and job-seeking customers.”
In the business demand-driven system, DWD will use workforce statistics and economic data to determine the jobs that are in high-demand and to forecast jobs that have a strong potential for growth. With this knowledge, DWD will work closely with its community partners to educate and prepare Denver’s workforce with the skills and competencies needed to perform well in those jobs, in turn contributing to Denver’s economic growth. DWD has hired four account representatives to target high demand industries, which include hospitality, healthcare, protective services and business services.
“As one of the first cities in the nation to adopt the business demand-driven system, Denver is poised to become a national model of strategic workforce development,” said Hickenlooper. “We want current and prospective local businesses to know that we are working aggressively to provide them with an exceptionally trained, ready-to-work workforce.”
DWD is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for businesses, offering specialized recruitment and job fairs, as well as workforce training and assessment programs.
The completion of the Stapleton redevelopment plan is projected to bring 30,000 new residents and 35,000 jobs to the area. With 1.2 million square feet of retail space to be developed in the Stapleton area by the end of next year, the expansion of the Denver Workforce Center at Stapleton is needed.
“The Stapleton Workforce Center is truly an asset to this community and to the entire city,” said Councilman Michael Hancock, whose district includes Stapleton. “It speaks volumes about Denver’s commitment to keeping people employed and making the most out of our development opportunities.”
The Denver Workforce Center at Stapleton is located at 3401 Quebec Street next to the Radisson Hotel in the Stapleton Plaza, Suite 7700.