Business ideas from state slammed locally

Local business operators panned training and resource collaboration suggestions made by the Governor’s Jobs Cabinet members Wednesday.

Suggestions included getting business, government and commerce entities to speak more freely with one another, something Carter Mathies of Artista Midstream Services said already is done in Mesa County.

“We’ve had to collaborate to survive over here since ’82,” Mathies said.

A plan to link businesses and workers to commerce sites through a state Web site also got a thumbs down.

“The businesses you’re trying to help with this are probably not going to visit this site, or they’re going to visit it once,” said Diane Schwenke, executive director of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nina Anderson of Express Employment said she would rather seek a local site directly than seek local information from a state site.

“I’m not going to go to that,” she said of the proposed state Web site.

Cabinet members suggested implementing career-readiness programs, making sure small-business needs are met, and resource and education materials are readily available — three needs Schwenke said already are met locally.

The 32 members of the cabinet work in business or education and have spent a year compiling recommendations for training workers and students, spreading the word about business-friendly services and getting businesses and government to share information.

The goal is to keep jobs that already exist, said Ben Curtiss-Lusher, a policy analyst for the governor who accompanied cabinet members at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We are not going to be able to say the cabinet will create 5,000 jobs,” he said. “It’s about retention.”

Curtiss-Lusher said Mesa County is lucky to have many of the cabinet’s suggestions already in place. Not every part of the state is so fortunate, he said.

Small-business owner and Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Grand Junction, attended the meeting.

The success of the cabinet’s strategies will depend on how business-friendly the Legislature can be when formulating bills, she said.

“Until we change the tone in the Legislature for business, this is all for naught,” Bradford said.

The cabinet will present draft recommendations to the governor in August. Curtiss-Lusher said the recommendations will be inserted into a larger plan for stimulating business in Colorado.


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