New funding has allowed the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Lincoln County to hire an additional employee for its workforce program.

Extension Coordinator Dr. Holly Gatzke said in a recent interview that with funding for the 2016-2017 fiscal year at the beginning of July they have been able to hire Christy Blood of Pioche full-time to work with Lincoln County Workforce as a job developer. “She will be going out into the community and working with the business and agencies to help get work experience and on-the-job training going.”

Gatzke said the work force program has been in existence for several years, “but has really grown in the past couple of years and serving more and more people every year. “We have had a full-time and three-quarter time person, Lana Chouquer and Jamie Torrealday, and now we have added Christy Blood as full-time. Historically, we have focused on the clients and the school district, but now we are shifting the age group from teens up to 24 years old, and also reaching out to the local businesses and connecting them with the needs of the clients, and the needs of the business for employees. It is always important to have that relationship. This is going to make a big difference for us.”

In addition, Gatzke said, “We also have an adult program where we can help people with training, career education and understanding, and be sure they also have the basic education necessary.” When needed, the Extension office can contract with someone to come in and do tutoring for people.

In 2015, Gatzke said they had about 25 adults and 25 youth in the workforce program. “This coming year, with the additional funds we will try to serve 31 in each group.”

Working with different agencies in the county, the program has been able to get kids work experience, “something for their resume to go out in the world with. We can do on-the-job training in their first few months on the job, and we have helped several get their CDL. We have a number of courses we can get people started in. We want to help the client with what they want to do and help how to obtain that.”

Much of the training is done at the Extension office in Caliente. Gatzke said they expanded into the portion that was used by the county health nurse after that office was moved to Panaca.

Elsewhere, Anna Gloeckner is continuing to work on her “Little Books, Little Cooks” program. She is currently holding weekly classes in Pioche. Gatzke said, “We do that as a summer program for families that 3 to 5 year olds, teaching the parents how to cook with the little ones. There is also a reading program to help them build their skills to be prepared for school.”

Haley Gloeckner is teaching her “Eating Smart. Being Active” program. After the county fair, she will be coming to Alamo again, Gatzke said.

Regarding the fair, Gatzke said, “We are having one of the highest enrollments in 4-H since 2005. We have a great lineup of clubs and kids and expect to have a huge number of displays at the fair because of that.”