Thirty-nine applicants are hoping to be chosen for one of 13 paid summer internships or apprenticeships offered through the Gorge Works Paid Work Experience Program.
Almost all of the applicants are from the Columbia Gorge area, or have family ties here.
“Part of the idea behind Gorge Works was to connect local job candidates with local employers offering the potential for careers in skilled positions with good wages and benefits,” says Kathy Ursprung who, along with Bayoán Ware, coordinated the project. “We’re experiencing a housing shortage around the Gorge, so it’s important to maximize the potential of workers we already have in our area.”
Port of The Dalles representatives had been told by local businesses that they are struggling to find qualified candidates for good, well-paying jobs. At the same time, we heard from high school and community college students hoping to find local career opportunities that they were struggling to make the needed connections. The goal of Gorge Works was to bring these two sides of one equation together.
“More than half of the jobs offered through Gorge Works don’t require a bachelor’s degree to qualify,” Bayoán says. High school career technical education, community college certificate or degree programs, trade schools or on-the-job training are some other ways that job skills can be acquired.
The remainder can be considered front office careers that require additional training up to and including traditional college degrees.
In coming weeks Gorge Works personnel will be reviewing and sorting the applications before forwarding them to the employers for consideration. Hiring decisions should be finalized in April.
Paid Gorge Works internships and apprenticeships start June 18 and are nine weeks long. They include a weekly Professional Development workshop on a variety of topics related to effective work practices, community involvement and personal finance.