Workforce Development Program Continues Success

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omarThe Milford Workforce Development Commission held their student interviews at Milford Senior High School on Thursday, January 10 in their continuing effort to partner high school students with local employers. An initiative driven by the Economic Development Advisory Panel, under the Economic Strategic Plan adopted by City Council in 2011, the program promotes workforce development for local teenagers by providing work history, educational experiences and financial support.

Through research compiled from the City of Milford’s Economic Strategic Plan , City officials learned that 2 out of every 3 students that graduate from Milford High School do not return to the City of Milford after college. Although much emphasis has been given to Economic Development and job creation, the City of Milford has tagged this statistic as being a main focal point on the road to prosperity. Working with school leaders, students and local businesses the Workforce Development Commission hopes to increase retention of young Milford leaders.

“The program is really a nice tie between the High School and its community,” commented Sylvia Henderson, Director of Student Support for the Milford School District. “It allows juniors and seniors to experience our local businesses and allows local businesses to see what Milford High School students have to offer. The program allows students to build leadership skills and gives them the opportunity to decide what they really want to do after graduation.”

High School junior Omar Granado has been working with local employer Dentsply Caulk for three weeks now and is enjoying his experiences in the program. Mathematics being Omar’s favorite subject, he hopes to one day be an engineer. Currently enrolled in the Arts and Science Pathway at the High School, the Workforce Development program has helped him to build confidence in a real life business setting.

“It will help me to be prepared for when I know what I want to do in life,” commented Omar. “I am starting to feel comfortable in a work setting and I hope this will help me become a leader.”

Much more than an active employment center, the program helps these students develop skills associated with long-term success and prepares them for college, trade school or advanced training after graduation. Supporting the financial future for these students, the Workforce Development Commission has developed a fund agreement with the Delaware Community Foundation. In addition to the paycheck that the student takes home, a fund has be set aside for each student that can be used at the end of the program for future advancement. The student, the employer and collected donations each donate $1 to the fund for each hour the student works, totaling $3 per hour. It is estimated that a student could accumulate as much as $4,800 for his or her future education and earn approximately $13,000 while working in the program.

“The first year of the program went well and we are at the point where we would like to increase the number of students involved in the program,” commented Dave Markowitz, fellow creator and facilitator of the program. “We are now looking for additional funds so that we can support more students and local businesses.”

Starting with three students, the Workford Development Program is currently placing its seventh student at Dentsply Caulk. Businesses involved in the program also include I.G. Burton, Lank, Johnson & Tull, Milford Medical Associates and Orthopaedic Associates. Businesses and individuals interested in being a part of the program can contact William Pilecki at 302-632-2228.