Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC)

Oregon joined the national Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) program on January 25, 2011. To date, thousands of Oregonians have earned a certificate and hundreds of businesses of all sizes, in a variety of industries, are supporting the certificate by preferring the NCRC in their hiring practices.
A Certified Work Ready Community is an ACT designation based on the number of NCRC’s and business letters of support in individual counties. Specific targets are set in the areas of current workers, emerging workers, and transitioning workers. The goal is to help counties attract new businesses by demonstrating they have a skilled workforce.

To learn more about Oregon’s Certified Work Ready Communities visit http://workreadycommunities.org/OR.
Or, contact Holli Francis from Mid-Columbia Council of Governments at 541-386-6300.

National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) is a nationally recognized, portable credential that demonstrates workplace employability skills in the areas of Reading for Information, Applied Math, and Locating Information. The State of Oregon is currently offering the $105 assessments to residents for free. The assessments are administered at Columbia Gorge Community College in both Hood River and The Dalles, Oregon.

To register to take the NCRC, contact Anita Iken at the Oregon Employment Department at 541-296-5435 x231

Learn more about the National Career Readiness Certificate.

Oregon Program Money Management Grant

With a new grant from Easter Seals in partnership with Department of Human Services our Region 9 AAA is expanding the Money Management Program.

Financial security is more than simply having money to live on. It’s also being able to understand and pay bills on time, manage credit, organize financial papers, file taxes, and other financial tasks.

moneymanagement

Approximately 2% of adults need help managing personal finances due to mental or physical impairments.

As one might imagine, the percentage increases with age. Without support these people are vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse. They are often isolated and living in fear of losing their independence.

The Oregon Money Management Program offers support to people ages 60 and over with limited incomes and assets who need help with money management tasks. Services are provided by trained and supervised volunteers who support the program in the following ways:

  • Bill-Pay volunteers provide one-on-one assistance to individuals who remain in control of their finances but need ongoing help to keep on track. Budgeting, organizing financial papers, paying bills, banking, and help filling out forms are examples of how Bill Payer volunteers help their clients.
  • Payee volunteers provide one-on-one assistance to individuals who do not have the capacity to manage their federal benefits such as Social Security, SSA Disability, Veteran’s, and Railroad Retirement. Volunteers manage these federal benefits on behalf of the individuals, ensuring that basic needs are met and funds are protected.
  • Office Aides help Regional Program Coordinators program operations, including processing client and volunteer paperwork and performing data entry.
  • Monitor volunteers examine client bank statements looking for red flags and needed supportive documentation.
  • Team Leaders support program volunteers at program satellite offices.

Program Safeguards

  • Program volunteers are screened to ensure suitability to work with vulnerable individuals
  • Volunteers receive specialized training with ongoing support and supervision
  • Personal and financial information is kept secure and in strict confidence
  • Operating procedures are in place to protect program participants from loss and volunteers and program sponsors from liability
  • Easter Seals Oregon protects clients’ funds from loss due to mistake or misuse by program staff or volunteers

 

Presentation at Mid-Columbia Fellowship of Churches

In an effort to recruit volunteers and to spread the word about the programs and services available within the Area Agency on Aging, Melissa Howtopat was a guest speaker at a forum held by the Mid-Columbia Fellowship of Churches.

She discussed:

  • 13 Senior Nutrition Programs
  • Oregon Project Independence
  • Information and Referral
  • Living Well With Chronic Conditions
  • Friendly Visitor Program
  • Senior Health Insurance Benefits
  • Money Management
  • National Family Caregiver Support Program
  • Options Counseling

Contact Melissa at 541-298-4101 to find out more about having her present at your location.

Schedule a trip using The LINK Public Transit

Schedule a trip using The LINK Public Transit
The LINK Public Transit provides dial-a-ride, door-to-door service within the City of The Dalles and select areas in Wasco County. Use The LINK to travel to medical appointments, shopping, employment, Columbia Gorge Community College classes, and more!

Follow these steps to reserve your trip using The LINK:

  • Call 541-296-7595 to schedule your trip.
  • Call as early as you can – at least one day in advance to ensure The LINK can provide your trip. The LINK may be able to serve a same-day trip request but cannot guarantee availability.
  • When you call to request a ride, The LINK will provide you with a 30-minute pick-up window.

For example:

For an appointment at 9:00 a.m., The LINK will pick you up between 8:15 – 8:45 a.m. to make sure you arrive at your appointment on time.
The LINK will pick you up minutes after your appointment ends.

Please note: other passengers may be riding the bus with you to different destinations and there may be stops before you reach your destination.

Also, The LINK operates lift-equipped buses to serve customers who require the use of a wheelchair or have difficulty negotiating steps.

For more information about The LINK Public Transit, including fares and schedules, please visit http://gorgetransLINK.com/transit-wasco.html or http://mccog.com/transportation-network/

Recycling Center Distributes over 500 Computers to Local Schools

Recycling Center Distributes over 500 Computers to Local Schools
The Students Recycling Used Technology Program (StRUT) at MCCOG provides technology education, resources, and recycling to schools across Oregon. Generous donations from the public, corporate and organizational sponsors keep coming in. We can’t keep our doors open without them.

StRUT receives donated, reusable technology. Working with companies such as Google, Intel, Symantec, and OHSU, the program takes donated reusable technology equipment and redeploys it for use in schools.

  • Last fall StRUT distributed over 500 computers to member schools.
  • The Hood River Valley school system is overhauling 120 StRUT computers for the benefit of their technology lab and returning the replaced units to StRUT for recycling.
  • Students from Burns High School trekked to StRUT to help break down recycling and took the opportunity to visit The Dalles Google Data Center.
  • StRUT is on pace with its 500,000 pounds of recycling goal for the 2013-2014 year.
  • StRUT’s gross revenue has been steadily increasing over the last 6 months and on track for stability and growth.
  • StRUT has a new database to help us keep track of donations and recycling revenue. We can track a system unit through all its various uses to the end of its life.

Workshops and Classes Offered to the Public at No Charge

Workshops and Classes Offered to the Public at No Charge
The Workforce Department offers classes to the public at no charge. Classes generally begin at 9:30 a.m. and run 1-2 hours, depending on the topic. One of the first classes we recommend is our Resume Workshop. This class begins as an informational discussion and then evolves into hands-on resume creation. We also offer a cover letter class to go along with the resume class, so you can learn how to create an effective letter of introduction to accompany your resume.

Our next recommendation is usually the Interviewing class and Mock Interviews. In the Interviewing class you will learn what questions to expect at an interview, how to prepare for those questions, and how you can be sure to put your best foot forward at the interview. You will next have the opportunity to do an actual interview with a member of our staff and will receive feedback from that staff member.

Workforce also offers several computer-related classes. We offer a class on Online Applications, since so many employers are now requiring job applications to be completed online. This class will not only give you tips on completing these applications and how to follow up, but it will also offer assistance with those “ethics” types of questionnaires that are often included in an online application.

We have additional computer classes each month, such as Intro to Word, and Intro to Excel. Or, if you’re not computer savvy and aren’t ready for those classes, we also offer a Basic Computers class that is designed to help you feel more comfortable using a computer.

Even if you are not using Social Media–such as Facebook, Twitter, LINKedIn, etc.–employers are! So we offer a class that explores how employers are using Social Media not only to screen out applicants, but also to monitor employee online activity. In this class you will also learn how to use Social Media to your advantage in your job search.

Cutting Edge Transportation Scheduling System

New Scheduling System allows The LINK to provide a more personalized service

The LINK, a public transportation system provided by the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, recently installed a new web-based scheduling system. This system automatically assigns and dispatches trips using real-time information, allowing LINK to schedule and reschedule trips more efficiently and to respond more effectively to service peaks and changes in demand.

LINK can also respond automatically to conditions on the road, such as weather, congestion and vehicle breakdowns.  By automating existing processes, LINK saves time and enables a greater focus on safety and customer service.

New Businesses in The Dalles

Mid-Columbia Building Code Services has been busy with a couple of new projects.fairfield_inn

First, the Marriott Fairfield Inn is well underway. The Inn is being built behind Cousin’s Restaurant and is actually owned by Cousin’s. They are in the insulation stage and moving right along.

 

StarbucksSecond, the new Starbucks Coffee is getting started and will be located on the corner of 6th & Cherry Heights. They should be ready to open in about 5 weeks’ time.

New Transportation Building in the Works

The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments(MCCOG) is planning a new transportation building on Chenowith Loop in the old Westgate Market location behind Home Depot. The new office building is estimated to be approximately 3,600 square feet with a 4,320 square foot parking structure with a covered shelter for Greyhound buses.

Major activities related to the building project:

  • A preliminary exterior design has been completed, along with the site and interior layouts.
  • The preliminary cost estimate has been completed.
  • The City of The Dalles Planning Commission has approved the Conditional Use Permit.

The next steps are scheduled to begin on Friday, January 24. They include work on the specifics of the design, such as electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and lighting. MCCOG also will need to initiate a Local Improvement District with the City and Home Depot to arrange for the construction of a sidewalk along 7th Street on the east side of the property.