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Front Page » February 24, 2009 » Carbon County News » BEAR project tackles local economic issues
Published 2,034 days ago

BEAR project tackles local economic issues


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

Castle Valley economic personnel gathered Thursday morning at the regular Business Expansion and Retention meeting to discuss increasing the area's skilled workforce, providing a comprehensive drug free workplace program and continuing to assist individual business with the skills required to compete in today's economy.

Present at the meeting were College of Eastern Utah representatives David Cassidy and Russell Goodrich who informed the group of CEU's plans to host between 120-130 statewide mechanics instructors as part of a yearly training program. While the training typically takes place at larger campuses around Utah, CEU has been given the honor of hosting this year's event.

"Besides the immediate economic benefits of the training taking place here, the real prize would be attracting skilled workforce to this area," said Small Business Development Center Director for the Price region, Ethan Migliori. "Teachers typically have a lot of sway with their students and if we can get local business to demonstrate why Castle Valley is a great place to live and work, these instructors will take that back to their students."

While the majority of instructors will be from state high schools, there will be several college level professors in attendance with students ready to start their careers.

"If we can bring new, young families to the area, even a few, that would be a great asset to our program and have an immediate impact on several factors of the local economy," explained Carbon County Economic Development Director, Delynn Fielding.

As BEAR's main purpose is the expansion and retention of local business the group then moved on to the implementation of its drug-free workforce program.

"Substance abuse issues continue to plague various local businesses," said BEAR director Karl Kraync. "Anything our program can do to curtail this issue is our duty."

BEAR plans to send out program information to more than 1,700 local businesses to determine the area's interest in the program.

Information and training will be provided to the employers free of charge via a partnership between the BEAR program and Four Corners Community Behavioral Health.

Flyer information stipulates that starting a drug-free workplace program is not difficult but to be successful it helps to plan carefully.

It is important for people to think ahead, define clear goals for the program and seek advice from other employers with experience.

People should learn as much as possible about existing policies and procedures before starting.

The mailing information also recommends having a clearly written policy and procedure that is applied uniformly throughout the business.

Other central tenets of the process include:

•Involving employees in the process.

•Considering a collective bargaining process.

•Protecting confidentiality.

•Ensuring accurate testing and objective review.

•Asking for legal review.

•Eliminating stigma by considering intervention and showing concern for employees and their families.

"A drug-free workplace program that communicates care and concern for employees is more likely to succeed than one that intimidates employees," points out the program's information.

The program is for all business people who feel substance abuse is affecting the success of their operations.

"The program can be tailor fit to any Castle Valley business," said Fielding. "If a smaller business is interested in the seminar, then we can host them here at our facilities. However, if a larger business such as a mine or large manufacturer were interested, we could bring the program to them."

The information further explains why having a drug-free business is important to any operation's overall success and bottom line.

Substance abuse in the workplace can have serious consequences, states the mailing.

Studies show that, compared with non-substance abusers, individuals who abuse substances while on the job are more likely to:

•Change employment positions frequently.

•Arrive late or be absent from work more frequently.

•Be less productive while at work.

•Be involved in workplace accidents.

•Have to file a workers compensation claim.

Simply put, substance abusers frequently do not make good employees. And it is the belief of the partners involved in this project that the correct procedures and training can not only save employees jobs but increase overall businesses productivity

To further aid businesses in the Castle Valley area, Migliori will host a Seven Habits of Highly Effective People seminar on March 13-14.

The class is small, but still has slots remaining. Interested parties may contact the small business development director at 613-5435.

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February 24, 2009
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