COLORADO SPRINGS — As our healthcare heroes push forward in the battle against the coronavirus, Colorado's small businesses and workers are hoping they'll soon see a rebound in an uncertain economy. The good news is leaders at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center say they are ready and willing to help.
The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis. It has impacted all of us in some way. For those whom haven't experienced the health concerns, you're likely dealing with the uncertain economy. For workers here in the Pikes Peak Region, there is hope. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center has seen a huge uptick in calls and is already helping businesses and workers get back on their feet.
The workforce center workspace is empty right now as the team is focused on social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Remotely, the team is answering the phones for anyone in need. While some people say they've had trouble connecting with state and federal officials, the staff at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center says it is here to answer any questions you might have during this uncertain time.
Right now the workforce center is helping area business leaders to manage this crisis. Plus, they are connecting people looking for work with potential employers, and training resources.
"It's been crazy," said Pikes Peak Workforce Center Executive Director and CEO Traci Marques. "I just pulled the data, we went from the beginning of March averaging about 25 calls a day on our mail telephone number to about 160 to 175 calls a day now."
County officials and business leaders are working on developing policies to help businesses reopen safely when the time comes.
"We do believe that a lot of that will be dictated either by the federal government or the state government so we'll take their guidelines and then assist our businesses," said Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Terri Hayes.
Hayes believes people in need of employment help should make the call to the Pikes Peak Workforce Center because going back to work now will benefit your career later.
"That track of you working is going to show an employer that you have the dedication that it takes, but i also wouldn't worry because right now people are going to understand that there's going to be a blank in your resume right now and it's not going to necessarily held against you, but remember when we come out of this you are going to be searching for jobs with everybody else so if you can secure something now then i think that's going to be better off for you in the long run," said Hayes.
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is also making plans for reopening their office space once it is able to do so safely. Leaders say being able to connect people to technology in the office and at area libraries is important for people who don't have the means to apply for online jobs at home.
Prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, the American economy was on a record-setting pace with low unemployment, which meant the team at the workforce center was scaled back. Now work is being done to ramp up staff and services to meet the needs of everyone in the Pikes Peak Region who needs help.
"A lot of what we do is to provide hope. We provide guidance and direction," said Marques. "For people this time around, we have people who have never applied for unemployment before. You are calling the state system, you aren't able to get in. You're getting kicked off. You're wondering if you're going to get any money. What's gonna happen? Workforce centers nationwide are that go-to resource to provide that individual service that you need."
If you or someone you know could use some advice, or the employment resources offered by the Pikes Peak Workforce Center visit https://ppwfc.org/ or call (719) 667-3700.
All Unemployment Claims must be filed online at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment