The job training partnership between the Starke County Highway Department and WorkOne is working out well for the county. It’s designed to teach employees “soft skills” like arriving on time and showing up for scheduled shifts. WorkOne pays their hourly wages and covers the cost of worker’s compensation insurance, while Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler oversees their time cards. He says one part-timer just received his Class A CDL and is going to work in the garage on a trial basis to see if he can fill the apprentice mechanic opening. Ritzler says he will be evaluated after two months, and if he is hired WorkOne will pay $6,000 of his first year salary.
Another three-person crew of WorkOne interns is handling road crew duties this summer. Ritzler says they are assisting with roadway trash pickup. WorkOne is paying their wages.
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.