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US Forest Service and Partners Provide Employment Opportunities Nationwide

Thousands of temporary seasonal jobs with the Forest Service and its partners are available this summer and officials say now is the time to begin the application process.

"Due to the nature of much of our work, such as wildfire fighting and seasonal recreation programs, we anticipate hiring many temporary workers," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "These jobs will provide economic relief for many unemployed Americans and help stimulate local rural communities."

Annually, the Forest Service and its conservation partners hire over 15,000 people for summer positions. Of that total there are around 12,000 openings during the peak fire season months for those seeking temporary work in the fire and aviation management field. More about jobs in the Forest Service can be found online at www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/openings.shtml

Seasonal job opportunities also provide first-hand knowledge of natural resource management to the new hires, many of whom are young adults. These work experiences may instill lasting and meaningful connections between the future stewards of our land and America's great outdoors," Tidwell said.

Many of the communities most affected by economic hard times are located near national forests and grasslands. By providing temporary jobs to a diverse group of applicants, the Forest Service is contributing to stronger communities and providing safe access to the forests and grasslands for their use and enjoyment by people of all abilities, Tidwell noted.

For example, through the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry program some of these employment opportunities will engage students in the creation of a new generation of clean, accessible great urban parks and community green spaces, a goal of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative -- a plan to reconnect Americans to the forests and grasslands that sustain the nation.

An employment alternative offered through the Forest Service is enrollment in one of the agency's 28 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. This rigorous vocational training program combines a demanding academic curriculum and prepares students to excel in the 21st century workforce. One emphasis area focuses on "green-collar" jobs and clean energy issues. Recognizing the program's efforts in green jobs training, President Obama has endorsed them as America's Green Job Corps.

The Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Parks Service, and the Employment and Training Administration share common goals regarding career development for young people. These goals include giving low income youth opportunities to gain valuable work experience, provide service to their nation, and contribute to much needed work projects on public lands.

Land management agencies and the land itself can benefit from increased employment of youth on the public lands, especially to address the backlog maintenance issues many agencies face. As these workers learn about the potential career pathways in these occupations, those who are interested can help meet the imminent demand for skilled workers as approximately 35 percent of Forest Service employees are eligible for retirement in the next four years, Tidwell said.

These jobs will also be part of the President's White House Summer Jobs initiative to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.

Highmark awards $2M in workforce development grants

Highmark Inc. on Tuesday announced $2 million in career development and job training funding for 25 organizations across the state, including five in Central Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh-based insurer grants the funding through its Local Workforce Initiative, created to recognize organizations demonstrating an impact in areas with minority, disabled, veteran or displaced worker populations, according to a news release.

"We know that there are often barriers that prohibit individuals from obtaining employment, and to create a vibrant and healthy community, individuals need access to sustainable employment," Dan Onorato,
Highmark executive vice president of chief external affairs and communications officer, said in a statement. "Through this program, communities where we do business will have the necessary funding to address this pressing issue."

Midstate programs receiving funding are:

  • Harrisburg Area Community College Foundation, $100,000 to support disadvantaged youth in becoming work-ready and trained for in-demand jobs in manufacturing and health care.
  • Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, $120,000 to connect minority youth with apprenticeships in skilled building trades.
  • Lancaster-Lebanon Education Foundation, $82,000 to help low-income, minority youth to obtain their general education development (GED) degree and provide leadership development, guidance and job training for health care and manufacturing fields.
  • United Way of the Capital Region, $187,000 to train disadvantaged young adults for jobs at businesses participating in a south central manufacturing and utility training consortia; to develop internships and apprenticeships for disadvantaged youth leading to jobs in utility and construction fields.
  • YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, $75,000 to offer domestic violence victims, ex-offenders and low-income, disadvantaged youth employment training, placement services, transportation assistance and general education classes.

The grants are provided through donor-adviced charitable funds via The Pittsburgh Foundation, Harrisburg-based The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and The Erie Community Foundation

From Fast Food to Fine Dining: A Career Path or Dead End?

 

As workforce development professionals look to connect people to training and jobs, they have often overlooked industries considered "low-skill, low-wage," such as the restaurant sector.  Yet, there are good jobs in restaurants, with living wages and decent benefits, although admittedly these are not the majority.  Importantly, however, employment in this industry is growing - food services establishments added over 530,000 jobs in the past year.  

 

On March 7th, the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative hosted an event, From Fast Food to Fine Dining: A Discussion on Work in the Restaurant Industry, which explored the challenges faced by restaurant workers, and low-wage workers in general, as well as ideas for how jobs and opportunities in the sector could be improved. The event, was the first in a series of discussions AspenWSI is hosting this year in a series titled, Reinventing Low-Wage Work: Ideas That Can Work for Employees, Employers and the Economy. Wednesday's discussion featured Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Saru Jayaraman, Executive Director of ROC-United, Helen Neuborne, Director of Quality Employment at the Ford Foundation, John Schmitt, Senior Economist of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and restaurateur. The discussion was moderated by Peter Edelman, Professor of Law at Georgetown University.

 

The videotaped recording from that event and a short document distributed at the event that provides an overview of the restaurant workforce in the U.S. are now available.

 

What do you think?

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