Good news for those looking for work here

Our view: There's training available - some of it free - for those who need a job
2013-04-28T00:00:00Z Good news for those looking for work here Arizona Daily Star
April 28, 2013 12:00 am

For the unemployed, underemployed and students ready to graduate or simply planning ahead, there are two clear messages in today's Star 200:

First, training is accessible and affordable - possibly free - for good jobs that may be going unfilled because skilled workers are not available.

Second, some potential workers need a major attitude adjustment and training in the "soft skills" - basic workplace etiquette like getting there on time.

The Star 200 section highlights the positive direction of workforce development in Southern Arizona and the need to help entry-level workers who are basically unskilled get the training they need.

Industry, higher education institutions and economic development groups are coming at this problem from all angles.

With Tucson ranking as the sixth poorest large metropolitan area in 2011, efforts to bring jobs and skills together is good news for every Southern Arizonan.

There's more that can and should be done to perfect these programs, and we support continuing to funnel resources at job creation and job readiness.

Scouring the section will reveal many of the local options and give details on how to get started.

While the outlook holds promise for many careers requiring college degrees, we're particularly impressed with opportunities in areas where skill training is available and a four-year degree isn't needed.

One example of success is Pima Community College's aviation-maintenance program. It fills the specialized job needs for local aerospace companies and another program plans to fill a shortage of skilled machinists in the broader sector including defense and manufacturing.

The Star's David Wichner reported that 21 of 25 students completing a program at the Pima Aviation Technology Center had job offers before graduation. Potential wages: from $16 to more than $23 per hour .

A worker hitting the mid-range for that job alone would be earning the average weekly wage in Tucson - $795, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics information released in February.

Though PCC is on probation and four board members have been asked to resign by various groups, the college continues its success providing more than 45 career training programs. Financial assistance is available through options such as the Health Professions Opportunity grant.

The top spot to begin job-hunting is Pima County's OneStop Career Center. It offers core services such as help updating a resume and interview workshops for anyone looking for a new job or career.

There's a qualification process, including meeting income criteria, to become eligible for training programs that may include financial assistance through government programs.

Jim Mize, manager of OneStop's business services team, told us his group worked with 800 employers who have hired workers or provided on-the-job training programs last year. They also look for more ways to get "the private sector engaged in our programs and working with our clients," he said.

What fields have worker shortages? Building trades, including electricians, plumbers and HVAC; mechanics, biomedical, information technology, health care, mining and tourism to name a few.

We often hear Tucson lacks good job opportunities. The stories told in Star 200 paint a positive future for those willing to contact PCC and/or Pima County OneStop and to show up to work on time.

Arizona Daily Star

Where to start

Pima County OneStop Career Centers

• Workers who have been laid off: Kino OneStop Center, 2797 E. Ajo Way. 243-6700.

• Unemployed adults and youths: Rio Nuevo OneStop Center, 340 N. Commerce Park Loop. 798-0500.

Pima Community College

• Counselors are available at all campuses until 6 or 7 on weeknights, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the East and Downtown campuses. You need not be a PCC student to meet with one. Check www.pima.edu/current-students/advising/contact-us.html for details.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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