Two businesses and four individuals from Yavapai County were recognized publicly for exceptional efforts in workforce and economic development by Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Mary Mallory spoke during an awards luncheon on behalf of the board and its partnership with Arizona@Work, a statewide workforce development network, and the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG). She praised efforts those partners had made during 2020 by identifying and creating job opportunities for persons seeking new careers.
Speaking to a crowd Aug. 12 at the Prescott Lakes Golf Course Clubhouse, Mallory said, “Yavapai County is fortunate in having the opportunity to advance workforce development for our businesses and residents because of this relationship between the Workforce Development Board, employers and job-seekers. The BOS (Board of Supervisors) is honored to participate in awarding businesses and individuals who demonstrate leadership and determination in building a strong labor force in the county.”
Mallory presented two Leadership Awards and four Title 1 Achievement Awards. Leadership awards were given for “going over and beyond in building the Yavapai Talent Pipeline,” she said. They went to Elan Electric, owned by Jim Johnson, Prescott Valley, and to Western Heritage Furniture, owned by Tim McCune, Jerome.
Mallory gave an Achievement Award to each of the following:
- Brandon Iurato, Cottonwood Police Department. Previously, Iurato had been an U.S. Air Force veteran and a U.S. Customs K-9 enforcement officer. He also had been the school resource officer for Mingus High School, a role he held until August.
- Guy West, marketing. He is a 23-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is now the properties brand manager at Founding Fathers Collective in Prescott.
- Dinah Youpel, cosmetologist. A waitress until she was laid off because of the COVID-19 shutdowns, she was assisted by NACOG to attend Rogers Academy of Beauty, where she graduated in September 2020. Youpel is employed full-time in Sedona.
- Lexxus DeLaCruz, nursing. A single parent, she completed the certified nursing assistant training program at The Meadows Nursing Facility in Prescott Valley. She now works full-time with the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic in Prescott.
Those at the event also received the 2020-2021 Annual Report from NACOG, prepared by Teri Drew, executive director. It detailed efforts of the workforce development board and emphasized that during 2020, “significant changes had occurred in the workforce and in local economies, impacting individuals, homes and families. We are witnessing a severe and sudden shift in the workplace, especially how it relates to society,” Drew said.
Demand for workers is at a record high, she said: “The Yavapai County Workforce Development Board is working tirelessly to be innovative to meet the demand for workers.”
Drew said the average hourly wage in Yavapai County was $20.98, and more than 110,494 people are reported to be working in the labor force in the county.
Those cooperating in the Innovative Workforce Solutions program in Yavapai County are Arizona@Work, NACOG, the Department of Economic Security-Employment Administration and Veterans Services; the Department of Economic Security-Vocational Rehabilitation; and the Adult Education Division at Yavapai College.