Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 20:17
Written by Scott Whipple   

HARTFORD — Bristol resident Karl Robertson Jr. enrolled in the Capital Workforce Partners Jobs Funnel looking for a career change. He liked working with his hands and with people. For him, computer numeric controlled machinist was too solitary a job.

Through Jobs Funnel, Robertson learned skills he needed to enter the career he wanted. He now installs and repairs water meters.

“My job is flexible, the hours are great and I get paid a decent wage,” he says.

Elena Alvarez, a New Britain resident, was referred to Jobs Funnel for welding training through Local 15 of the Ironworkers union following her honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines.

Enrolled in “CT Women Can Weld,” Alvarez says the program provided both training and support.

“I got a new skill and met great industry contacts through this program,” she says.

If she could, Julia Su Jack, program coordinator and supervisor for the Jobs Funnel program, wishes she could clone Robertson and Alvarez, especially in Bristol. Why Bristol?

“Bristol is important to us because it suffers a high unemployment rate,” she says. “We feel this market may open up significantly for construction laborers in the near future.”

Su Jack says 13 Bristol construction projects are expected to total more than $200 million in construction dollars in the next five years. This could mean as many as 1,600 construction jobs in the Bristol Area. Jobs Funnel wants to supply the workers.

It’s in an ideal position to meet this need. Jobs Funnel is part of a consortium that functions as a collaboration between several area agencies including the Center for Latino Progress and the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

Offices include a walk-in, online learning center, with computers equipped with job-search applications, assessment tools, skills-training software, and self-paced job-readiness software targeted for specific populations, such as veterans and ex-offenders. Special target-population services include a Homeless Veterans Integration Program, an Employment-Retention Program for ex-offenders currently employed, and a national emergency grant program for WIA Dislocated Workers separated from employment due to downsizing, reorganization, or closure at regional companies.

Su Jack says the Jobs Funnel success in the Hartford area has grown to where it can speak for itself.

“Employers have seen and heard firsthand about the caliber of workers Jobs Funnel produces and are extremely satisfied not only with the employees they hire, but also the support participants continue to receive from the program after completion,” she says.

Victory Energy Solutions of New Britain started using Jobs Funnel as a recruiting and training tool five years ago.

“It was an integral part of launching this business,” says Mike Gianfriddo, company owner and chief financial officer. “We hired a majority of our staff after they went through the funnel. Anyone they recommended we hired.”

VES, a residential and multi-family home performance company, works with utility companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts to provide energy efficiency services and incentives.

Its certified and trained technicians work toward making homes more comfortable in the winter and summer while reducing homeowner energy costs.

“The Jobs Funnel team let us sit in on their classes,” says Gianfriddo. “We could see the training candidates were receiving. We were able to meet them, ask them questions and decide whether or not we would hire them before they finished the class.”

Cierra Stancil from Capital Workforce contributed to this article.