It’s been just three months since Nevada Workforce Connections denied both the Salvation Army and Mesquite Works in their applications for $360,000 in grant funding through the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to begin a job training program in Mesquite.
Apparently, the tides have shifted however, as the Mesquite Local News has learned that the Salvation Army offices in Las Vegas will be working closely with Workforce Connections to open a job training program in Mesquite by Oct. 1. According to Captain Lisa Smith with the Mesquite Salvation Army, the board who denied them the grant at the June 15 meeting changed their mind some weeks later after discussing the matters further. “One of the board members decided to give it to us,” she said.
She went on to surmise that the decision was made because “they may have realized we were probably the best ones since we do have experience with vocational type programs and worked with Workforce before and we have a very strong presence in Mesquite.”
“The plan is to use the Mesquite Library as the base for the program. We don’t have the space here for it,” Smith said of their current space on Mesquite Boulevard. “Our big thing here is to refer people to the program over there (to the library) so they can start earning more money and be more employable.”
Smith said that the current operations at the Salvation Army Mesquite office will remain the same, that they will be doing the initial referring and attending meetings related to the program, but insisting that adding the program will not affect their services.
Smith also stated that there was a deep desire for the Salvation Army, Workforce Connections and Mesquite Works to collaborate and work together and that there would be a meeting with the three groups to determine what the working relationship would be. Phone calls to Ricardo Villalobos, the Director of Workforce Development Programs, remained unanswered at the time of deadline. Specific details about the program and what all it will offer were also not available as the meeting would be a large factor in that determination.
“I am really excited that this will create more opportunities for people in the community,” Smith said. “This will help some of these people that are hard to place in the workforce.”