ELIZABETHTOWN Especially in tough economic times, its important for businesses to be able to make sure their employees have the needed skills. Thanks to the Workforce Investment Board and their new Business Service Team, opportunities for hiring and training should be easier to find. Established by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the North Country Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is the driving force behind OneWorkSource centers that serve Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and Hamilton counties. Made up primarily of business leaders appointed by the local government, the board seeks to streamline the recruitment and training process. Through state and federal grants, the organization can offer relief for businesses trying to offer certain types of training to their employees. It also serves as a recruitment program, helping job seekers find local jobs that fit their skill set. Through the OneWorkSource program, the WIB brokers the training services of local partners like CV-TEC, various community colleges, and several other organizations. Even with those services available, the WIB saw a need for marketing them, explained board member Dan Alexander. Out of that came the recently established Business Service Team, a group of staff that act as liaisons between area businesses and the WIB. The board recognized a need for someone to go into area businesses and talk about their employment needs, said Keri Mack, director of the Business Service Team. As more and more businesses find themselves in demand of workers with specific skills, the connection to training resources and the means to make training employees more feasible can make a big difference. A lot of businesses, especially small businesses, dont always have the time to go out and research opportunities for training, said Mack. Even though the Business Service Team has only been in action for a few weeks, businesses have already expressed appreciation for the new initiative, said Alexander. We have had a very positive response from businesses, said Business Service Team member Paul Dedominicas. Theyre glad someones out there talking to them. The team will not just serve businesses, explained Alexander, but will help the WIB keep track of employment and training demands. In many ways, they are our eyes and ears for bringing back information from other businesses who arent as involved with the [WIB] so that we can develop programs and find funding opportunities that are going to assist local employers and local job seekers to meet their needs, Alexander said. Alexander mentioned that Denton Publications is planning on running job listings in its papers each week that are available through the OneWorkSource centers. By posting those listings, he hopes to help connect businesses with skilled workers.