Department of Labor and Employment
COMMITTEE ON JOINT BUSINESS AFFAIRS & LABOR
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04:14 PM -- Department of Labor and Employment
Executive Director Mares of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment presented with the Deputy Director, Gary Estenson, of the Colorado Department of Labor and distributed a 2009 Legislator Pocket Guide (Attachment C). The director talked about the task of finding unemployed Coloradoans jobs. He also discussed the department's involvement in employee training programs and its involvement with veteran affairs. Mr. Mares responded to a question from Senator Harvey regarding how many people had used the veterans' program. Mares indicated that he would get back to him.
Director Mares discussed the department's "sectors strategy," and used the energy sector as an example. Senator Foster asked a question regarding a program for on-the-job training, where an employer pays half a salary while the state pays half the salary for a six month training period. Director Mares described a program in Economic Development related to schooling. Tom Looft, Head of Workforce Programs in the Department, stated that there is still a program such as the one Senator Foster brought up. It is a combination of on-the-job training and classroom training. Senator Foster asked if that program was well-known. Director Mares stated that they needed to do a better job of promoting the program.
Director Mares discussed the unemployment insurance program and stated that the recent number of claims are more than they have ever seen. He explained that claims are still being paid on time. The director advised the committee to call him directly if they have constituents who need help. There was a discussion about an electronic self-service project that is being developed. Representative Priola suggested that the unemployment line should extend its hours. Director Mares explained that the unemployment line cannot be open past 6 or 6:30 because that is when payments are processed.