The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has developed a plan to prepare potential workers for local jobs. Taking part in the project are, from left, E.J. Siwek, executive director of the North Country Workforce Investment Board, John McDonald, Ticonderoga Central School superintendent, Chattie Van Wert, Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance director, Chip Holmes, Inter-Lakes Health CEO, and Dr. Steve Tyrell, North Country Community College president.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has developed a plan to prepare potential workers for local jobs.
The alliance has announced it will offer National Workforce Readiness Credential training locally and that it has reached an agreement with North Country Community College to offer expanded technical courses at its Ticonderoga campus.
“In October 2012 the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance announced that it had convened a group to focus on employment opportunities in the Ticonderoga area,” said Chattie Van Wert, alliance director. “Initially called ‘the curriculum meetings,’ these gatherings brought together area employers, school leaders and North Country agency heads to talk about ways to better meet employers’ needs by adjusting curriculum in the local schools.
“Just over four months later, the group has been able to assess a number of disconnects between the needs of employers and the skills of the available workforce, implement the National Workforce Readiness Certification program to improve the quality of our workforce, provide new opportunities to the under-employed in our community, target advanced technical curriculum to be offered locally and begin discussions about a regional trade school to be established locally,” she said.
The first step is to offer National Workforce Readiness Credential training, Van Wert said. The first NWRC course will be held this spring in Ticonderoga. Participants in will also earn National Retail Customer Service Certification.
“The first major initiative is to establish the National Workforce Readiness Credential as the gold standard of our local workforce,” Van Wert said. “The NWRC program teaches workplace communications, math, problem solving and behavior skills. In addition, it offers remedial help to employees needing to improve math and literacy skills.”
A key component of the program involves improving customer service skills, Van Wert noted. Area employers report that these skills are a particular need in Ti’s tourist economy, she said.
The class will be taught by the North Country Workforce Investment Board.
“NWRC candidates are just better prepared to learn, engage and be successful in the workplace over the long term,” said E.J. Siwek, North Country Workforce Investment Board executive director. “We’re using the Ticonderoga implementation as a model to promote throughout the North Country.”
The NCWIB program will also be incorporated into the Ticonderoga High School curriculum as part of a required economics course.
“This credential will benefit all students whether they are going to college, military or directly into the workforce,” John McDonald, Ti school superintendent, said.
During meetings last fall, Van Wert said, local employers such as International Paper, National Grid and Inter-Lakes Health indicated they have difficulty filling entry-level job openings because candidates don’t have the required technical skills.
To solve that problem, NCCC has agreed to offer more technical classes locally, Van Wert said.
“North Country Community College will play a key role in helping to bridge this gap over the next few years,” she said. “Dr. Steve Tyrell, president of NCCC, is committed to creating expanded technical curriculum at the Ticonderoga campus specifically targeted to the needs of these employers.
“Key curriculum will be in place for the 2014 school year,” she added. “In addition, talks are under way between NCCC and some engineering universities to explore the potential of offering four-year engineering degrees from these schools at the Ti campus.”
The Ti alliance is also investigating the possible creation of a regional trade school in Ticonderoga.
“NCCC, International Paper, Ti alliance and other partners are currently working to determine appropriate curriculum, potential locations, funding requirements and the project structure, with a goal of establishing the school as part of NCCC in Ticonderoga within the next few years,” Van Wert said.
The workforce development efforts are the result of many community groups working together, Van Wert said.
“These efforts will have a profound effect on both employees and employers in our area over the next few years and provide a cornerstone for economic development in our community,” the alliance director said. “The alliance would especially like to recognize the leaders from the Ticonderoga School District, North Country Community College, CV-TEC, International Paper, JASAMA Development, National Grid, Inter-Lakes Health, Fort Ticonderoga, Glens Falls National Bank, Bridge Point Communication, the North Country Workforce Investment Board, OneWork Source, Essex Country IDA, the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce, Mountain Lakes Services, Best Western, Silver Bay YMCA, and the many area business leaders who are participating in our talks.”