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CLIMB program gives women shot at life

Posted: Thursday, Mar 16th, 2017

GUERNSEY--It was one of the loudest battle cries of the 2016 election. Candidates even agreed on this particular subject and though they may have had differences about how to achieve the goal, bringing more jobs to Americans was one of many political footballs tossed about in the fall of 2016.

But in some places, it is not a lack of jobs that is the problem. It’s a matter of finding qualified workers to join the work force.

Case in point, this past February, the city of Cheyenne found themselves on the short list of places considered for the new home of the manufacturing plant for “Uncrustables”, a crustless peanut butter sandwich to be put on the market by the legendary jam and jelly company Smuckers. But Cheyenne ended up losing out to Longmont, CO due to the feeling that Cheyenne could not adequately meet the need for the estimated 500 workers needed to run the plant. Randy Burns, president of Cheyenne LEADS, said Smucker’s officials felt Cheyenne lacked a large enough workforce to sustain the facility.

Even Guernsey may find themselves in the position of lacking enough workers for upcoming increases in employment opportunities. A new hotel chain will open a facility this spring with need for between 12-17 part-time employees and once finished, the restored hotel downtown will also offer five or six more. Help wanted signs hang in the windows and doorways of several existing businesses at any given time and other positions are available as well.

But sometimes, it’s a matter of getting people ready to work that can make the difference between success and failure. Enter CLIMB Wyoming--a program that’s been around for nearly 30 years but one that the public doesn’t realize is around to help.

But CLIMB Wyoming is more than just a job training and placement program--CLIMB Wyoming changes lives by offering skills in the other critical areas needed for someone to not only get a job but keep it and . Born in the 1980s, it was a program established to address the problems faced by young single mothers who were existing on public assistance programs.

Inspired by her mother’s willingness to work with women society passed by; some even inmates in the Wyoming women’s prison in Lusk, Ray also saw the potential in every person and worked to create a model that would change lives for many years to come.

The program grew over the years and earned a reputation of success that afforded the opportunity to receive federal grant monies and expand the program to other communities in the state. Currently, the services are offered in Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Gillette, and the Teton area.

Known under several names throughout the years as the program developed, CLIMB Wyoming provides a therapeutic approach to make lasting change in people’s lives in an effort to break generational poverty. They teach life skills that include parenting, time management, conflict resolution, nutrition and budgeting--all basic parts of building a successful home life that will support a person’s ability to work and function in both places. The program also has a mental health component that offers counseling with licensed therapists that help applicants work through issues they may bring to the table. Climb Wyoming also has staff members that identify workforce needs in communities so that a better match may be made between workers and jobs available. Once workplace needs are identified, job training can be targeted.

Through partnerships with community agencies, as well as advertising and direct mail, applicants are sought out. After meeting income guidelines and demonstrating a willingness to commit to the effort the program requires, applicants begin the process that can take them from a life of poverty to a career that provides a comfortable way of life for them and their families.

Based on results, including a 92 percent graduation rate, the Climb Wyoming program has shown itself to be an answer to getting people off the public assistance rolls and into the productive segment of society.

The program has been recognized nationally as well as by many state organizations.

By empowering people with the tools to be independent and productive, Climb Wyoming has changed the lives of several generations and continues to be a more complete solution for employers as well as those who want to make a change in their lives.

CLIMB Wyoming also offers opportunities to obtain skills needed for specific jobs such as obtaining a CDL license, opening the door to commercial driving positions, including schools buses.

More information, including success stories, for applicants and employers is available on Climb Wyoming’s website at www.climbwyoming.org

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