March 29, 2020

New program’s focus on ‘work ready’ skills

SKOWHEGAN – Over and over again, county employers are telling economic leaders that many of those applying for jobs are missing some basic skills, things as basic as how to properly fill out an application or dress appropriately for work.

“We know this is a pressing need because we hear it all the time from our employers,” James Batey, Somerset Economic Development Corp. director, said Monday.

Since last spring, SEDC board members have been working on a new program, which will result in a “work ready” certificate for participants.

Although displaced workers will be welcome in the program, it is the underemployed or unemployed who will be targeted.

“We are trying to reach people who have been missed, for whatever reason, and need to learn what it takes to be employable,” Peter Schultz of Dirigo Stitching, who sits on the county’s training task force, said recently. “Employment opportunities in Somerset County are just blossoming. We need to take advantage of that.”

Batey said the program will involve teaching standards that include personal motivation, creating an employment plan, resume skills, attendance and attire issues, learning teamwork, communications and anger management.

Batey said the task force is moving slowly and carefully because “it is really important that we get this right the first time.” Local businesses must have confidence in the program so that they can buy into its success, he said.

The first round of classes will begin next spring and involve 12 to 14 workers. It is being funded through $6,000 from the Workforce Investment Fund. The “work ready” certificate will be awarded after the completion of 60 hours of training.

At this point, Batey said, the team is seeking local business leaders to serve on an advisory committee.

He said that the SAD 54 Adult Education Program is assisting with finding a facilitator and other partners include Kennebec Valley Community College and the Skowhegan Career Center.

For more information about participating, contact Batey at 474-0166 or

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