Workforce development committee continues work on internship program
Date posted: March 7, 2013
SHERIDAN — In an effort to extend its reach into the local employment base, the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Committee welcomed a pair of Sheridan High School students at its monthly meeting Wednesday at Sheridan College Main Street.
Senior Jack Syring and junior Wyatt Campbell were on hand to take part in the group’s discussion regarding the establishment of an internship program that, if launched, could help connect both students and adults to new sectors of the working world.
Both students hold part-time jobs at Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House in addition to participating in other activities. Following the meeting, the pair said they were interested in attending in order to become further involved in the community.
Committee members began discussing the possibility of an internship program late last year after several area business owners said while they would be interested in bringing on an intern, they didn’t know where to find one.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Chamber Executive Director Dixie Johnson said any potential internship program would aim to bridge the gap between the area’s educational institutions and the local business community.
Some area high schools — including SHS — already offer both internship and work programs for students, but employers are harder pressed to find college students and young professionals for their programs. And for those who are willing to take on the high school students, the lack of flexibility associated with supervising a minor can make the prospect less worthwhile.
While no formal action was taken on establishing an internship program, committee members agreed to form a taskforce to focus on bringing the concept to fruition.
In other business, the committee discussed plans for an upcoming training aimed at helping businesses establish policies for maintaining a drug-free workplace.
Scott Brastrup, vice president of sales and marketing at Vagtmand Services, said businesses would be wise to attend the sessions. In addition to protecting employers from potential liabilities, the establishment of official drug-free workplace policies can qualify Wyoming business owners for an up to 5 percent cut in workers compensation fees.
A fully enacted policy includes, among other components, drug testing as a condition of employment, post-accident, randomly and when intoxication is suspected.
Brastrup said the policies are important in providing employers with the knowledge necessary to discern whether workers are in danger in addition to protecting them from financial liability in the case of certain on-the-job accidents.
“If you don’t have a policy, you’re going to eat (those) expenses,” he said.
A set of two training sessions will be held April 2 at the CTEL presentation hall at Sheridan College. The program is free, but attendees are asked to call the Chamber to register in advance.