RENO, Nev. — Denise Castle was once a displaced employee after the company she worked for for two decades decided to downsize, and she was one of those let go.
Considering that, Castle decided workforce development was her next calling, and she worked to create a grant-funded employment program for Douglas County. She eventually parlayed that into a career at JOIN, Inc., a statewide nonprofit workforce development agency. She now serves as executive director of JOIN, hoping to helped displaced workers, particularly Nevadans aged 18-24, find a job.
“I like to think we’re one of the best-kept secrets in the state,” Castle told the audience at Northern Nevada Business Weekly’s Breakfast & Business event on March 1 at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. “We are here to partner with all industries. We provide paid training and support services employers while providing work experience for young adults.”
JOIN partners with other nonprofits, such as Community Services Agency (CSA), to break down barriers keeping job seekers and employers from connecting.
“One of the barriers we are seeing is that job seekers are not really aware of the opportunities out there for them,” said DeAndrea Ceccarelli, program development manager at CSA, who was among several speakers at the monthly NNBW event.
CSA and JOIN are examples of agencies that work with youth organizations such as Nevada Youth Empowerment Project (NYEP) to bring awareness and find solutions to factors such as youth poverty and homelessness. NYEP, for example, operates a 15-bed facility for homeless women aged 18-24 and provides them with support services.
Monica DuPea, founder and executive director of NYEP, said the youth she works with are often prevented from gaining or maintaining employment due to not having a permanent home.
“If an employee typically doesn’t have a place to sleep or a place to shower, for instance, pretty soon these people aren’t showing up for work,” DuPea explained to the Breakfast and Business crowd.
Tackling workforce development, Castle added, should occur from a partnership between regional socio-economic and educational institutions, and employers.
Other guest speakers at the March 1 event included Cheryl Olson, project director for Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project at TMCC; Adrienne Santiago, director of education, Career College of Northern Nevada; Dr. Kyle Dalpe, interim dean of the Technical Services Division at TMCC; and Elizabeth Loun, associate director for Employee Relations and Internships at UNR.
Visit www.nnbw.com/nnbw-events to learn more about the NNBW’s Breakfast & Business series, as well as other upcoming events planned for 2018.