May 302014

By Tammy Gray

A five-year plan that sets a new course for the local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program was approved by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The plan, and a related agreement, creates a partnership between Navajo and Apache counties, and focuses not only on job assistance and training for residents, but also on job creation. The workforce board will partner with local industries for job creation.

According to the five-year plan, the initial goals of the workforce board are: “To support business attraction, retention and expansion; assist in creating a workforce environment that supports an improved quality of life for area citizens; and support the stability and growth of local communities.”

In addition to partnering with businesses, the workforce board will work with schools and non-profit agencies to create both job opportunities and business expansion. Over the five-year plan period, the board will focus on employment in three specific sectors, medical care, energy generation and natural resource development.

The plan notes, “Medical care and energy generation are poised to post modest, but steady employment growth between 2013 and 2016, and the natural resource sector could become a game-changing force by 2016, given the volume of employees that could be potentially hired by this emerging industry.”

A five-year plan is necessary in order for the county to receive federal funding under the Workforce Investment Act.

“With these documents in place we receive our portion of the federal grant money allotted for ‘training to work’ programs with which we can assist the citizens of Navajo and Apache counties attain jobs that pay a higher wage, and lead to potential career opportunities and a better quality of life,” noted a memo to the board.

In other action May 27, the board:

* Approved a contract with Arizona Truck Center for the purchase of two used 10-wheel tandem axle tractors for a total of $177,418.

* Approved a contract with CRM of America for the hauling of waste tires.

* Approved the extension of a road maintenance contract for Victory Heights Road with Perkins Cinders.

* Approved a special use permit for U-Haul to expand a warehouse and mini-storage business in Lakeside.

* Approved special use permits for Verizon Wireless to construct wireless communication towers in Silver Lake Estates and White Mountain Lakes.

* Approved the sale of old jail kitchen equipment and a copier to the Navajo County Fair for $1.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10, at the county complex in Holbrook.