The recently announced job training partnership between the Starke County Highway Department and WorkOne has been expanded. It was initially designed to give young people up to age 24 who are not in high school or college a chance to learn “soft skills” like arriving at work on time and showing up for scheduled shifts.
Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners Monday the age limit has been lifted, and the program is now open to adults 18 and over. WorkOne pays their hourly wage and covers worker’s compensation insurance. Ritzler is just responsible for overseeing their time cards.
The workers perform general tasks like picking up trash or dead animals from the roadside. Ritzler says this benefits the county by freeing up skilled drivers to handle paving and other jobs. He adds the county is under no obligation to hire the program participants after they complete the program and can dismiss workers who do not show up or follow instructions.
So far the program is working out well for the county, according to Ritzler.