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In this issue..
Michael Gaunnac of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development was recognized by Governor Mitch Daniels at the 2009 Public Service Achievement Awards for his hard work in the implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Modernization (UIM) project. Under Mike’s direction, every computer server that was running UIM was replaced, tested and reinstalled, increasing much needed operational capacity.
The privilege to be personally honored by Governor Daniels impressed Mike.
“Recognition from someone who is responsible for aspects of more than six million lives is both an honor and humbling,” said Mike. “The ceremony was very nicely organized and well executed.”
Mike stressed that he wouldn’t have been able to achieve all that he accomplished without the help and assistance from others at DWD and the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT).
“Without their unrecognized efforts, many important systems would quickly descend into chaos,” he said. “I feel honored to represent them. I could not hope to name everyone without leaving someone out - but each one has my thanks.”
To get the system operational, working extra hours on many nights and weekends over a six month period was required.
“The nights were dark and quiet,” joked Mike.
“I chose this career so I must like working with computers but they can be more demanding than babies and puppies at times,” he added. “My Blackberry and laptop have become almost constant companions.”
The upgrade was completed right before a significant spike in unemployment claims. While other state systems were crashing under high volume, DWD’s system was prepared and experienced no problems.
“The UIM project team has absorbed jolt after jolt of organizational, economic, regulatory, legislative, business and personal change yet remains resilient, flexible, and focused,” said Mike. “It is a credit to the quality work of the state employees and the contractors. I am proud to say I am part of the team.”
Eleven Indiana High Schools competed in the FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship for robotics in Atlanta, GA on April 16-18 2009. The schools competed against 1,680 teams from the United States and ten other nations: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The championship was the final leg of this year’s competition. Each team had earned their invitation by excelling in their regional tournament. Once accepted to the championship, each team received a kit of hundreds of parts to build a robot within six weeks.
At the competition, the students and robots competed in a game called LUNACY that tested the students and robots ability to pick up 9 inch game balls and score them in trailers hitched on their opponents’ robots, while contending with the laws of physics on a low-friction floor. This type of challenge, allows students to solve complex technological problems, creating innovative thinkers, which is the goal of FIRST.
FIRST is an international program founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. The program’s objective is to help young people recognize the opportunity, power and joy of solving problems through science, technology and engineering.
Earlier this year, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that 30 Indiana high schools and postsecondary institutions received grants totaling $117,000 to compete in FIRST completions. This is part of DWD’s ongoing efforts to help students develop an interest in math, science and technology skills, preparing them for the future.
The following Indiana High Schools participated in the World Championship for robotics in Atlanta, GA.
Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis
Penn High School, Mishawaka
Western High School, Russiaville
North White High School, Monon
Carmel High School, Carmel
Kokomo High School, Kokomo
Hammond Schools, Hammond
West Lafayette High School, West Lafayette
Lafayette Jeff High School, Lafayette
Lawrence Schools, Indianapolis
Harrison High School, West Lafayette
Harrison, Kokomo and Hammond High Schools made it to the Quarter Finals, Perry Meridian High School made it to the semi-finals and Penn High School was a Finalist Runner-up.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is currently providing a FREE new service available to media outlets, business partners and community organizations. It is a computer program known as a “widget”. The widget displays three jobs available through IndianaCareerConnect.com each day.
IndianaCareerConnect.com is a free public service of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. It is the most comprehensive source of job openings, and the most extensive database of job seekers in the State of Indiana.
This widget is available for display on your homepage free of charge. Visitors simply select a job on the widget, and they are automatically redirected to IndianaCareerConnect.com for more information on how to apply. The widget is available in multiple sizes, and can be customized to pull jobs from across the state, or from your specific region.
The code for the IndianaCareerConnect.com widget is available for download to your website here: http://www.in.gov/dwd/2540.htm.
Alorica, Inc. a California-based company is opening a contact center in Lafayette that will employ 600 people by 2011. The new center will serve a telecommunications industry client. Hiring for the new company will be done exclusively through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s website, IndianaCareerConnect.com. The job application process opened Monday, June 1.
The company plans to begin training 150 to 200 employees by July 6. The company also plans to hire local management and support staff. Job applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED and typing skills. Sales or customer service experience is also helpful.
Kara Webb the Business and Employer Services Team Leader for the Reach Center at WorkOne West Central said, “From the employer’s point of view using Indiana Career Connect is the best way to face the daunting task of hiring 600 employees.”
All applicants are contained in one electronic environment and all the resumes are in one place. In this case the employer personalized their own interview question set which includes specific interview-type questions that an applicant might not have answered in their resume. The employer incurs no cost for the Indiana Career Connect services.
Even if an applicant is not hired by Alorica their chances of finding employment are greatly increased by having their resume in the Indiana Career Connect system.
Doyle McGee of the Indianapolis Westside WorkOne Office was named Goodwill’s Achiever of the Year. He received the award in honor of the great progress and accomplishments he has made in overcoming barriers to employment.
In 2007, Doyle was on a downward spiral – unemployed, struggling with substance abuse and homeless. Then he made a life changing decision. He went to Goodwill’s Senior Community Service Employment program, which helped him get a job at WorkOne.
“I bottomed out, basically,” Doyle says. “Here I am today proud, happy, a state employee, gainfully employed, looking good, feeling good and here to help someone else achieve their dreams.”
Doyle is now a thriving WorkOne employee, dedicated to helping other people. As an intermittent claims taker, he is customer service oriented and has helped numerous people reach their goals. Congratulations Doyle and keep up the good work!
As Deputy Commissioner of Communications, Marketing and Governmental Affairs, Michelle Marshel is responsible for communicating the DWD message both internally and externally. Michelle came to DWD via the Indiana House Republican Caucus where she was the policy director. She has worked as a public servant in state government for the past nine years.
The main goal of marketing and communications and governmental affairs is reaching out to elected officials, regional partners, employers, the unemployed, the media and all Hoosiers to help them understand the workforce development system. Michelle said, “Communication, both internal and external is our number one goal and is of utmost importance.”
Recently, the DWD marketing efforts have revolved around IndianaCareerConnect.com, the Young Hoosiers Conservation Corp and faith-based and community partnerships. Computers have been loaned to churches and other community groups to help make filing for unemployment more convenient for Hoosiers. DWD also has a strong partnership with the public libraries to help Hoosiers file for UI.
During the legislative session the governmental affairs group provides technical assistance offering their expertise to help legislators better understand the UI system. Another very important role is providing constituent services for elected officials who are researching workforce development issues.
The most important thing you need to know about Michelle Marshel is that she is the ultimate Chicago Cubs Fan. Visiting Wrigley field is her favorite summer activity.
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