Training for Retention and Advancement : Denver International Airport (DIA) Workforce Center

Program/Practice Name: Denver International Airport (DIA) Workforce Center

Agency Name: Denver Office of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development

Contact Information:

Patrick Giron
Economic Development Supervisor
8500 Pena Blvd.
Denver, CO 80249
Phone: (303) 342-2577
Fax: (303) 342-2592
patrick.giron@denvergov.org

Type of Program/Practice: The Office of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development has partnered with DIA to provide training at DIA in customer service, English as a Second Language (ESL), and cultural diversity, as well as job readiness training that includes intensive coaching/mentoring services.

Program/Practice Description: The Denver Workforce Center is located at DIA and seeks to connect those with little work experience and multiple barriers to work with employment opportunities at DIA. The Office of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development works in partnership with the Community College of Denver's Corporate Training Center (Performance Solutions), Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, DIA, and employers to provide training in:

  • Workplace ESL
  • Cash handling
  • Customer service
  • Intercultural communication
  • DIA security badge test preparation training

The center also offers a certificate program in workplace ESL, which is a 60-hour training over 12 weeks funded by a joint effort between the City and County of Denver and the Colorado Department of Education. The program is taught by instructors from the Spring Institute and the two areas of focus for this curriculum are airport customer service and workplace communication.

Innovations and Results: This unique initiative was designed to address airport employers' continuing need for qualified and competent employees to fill entry-level and mid-level management positions. Simultaneously, it was designed to meet job seekers’ needs for career guidance and training in order to obtain jobs that offer growth and sustainable incomes. This initiative has shown significant results and improvement in workers’ skills. Trainings and classes have raised self-esteem, morale, and productivity of entry-level workers. Additionally, businesses have seen revenue increases resulting from their employees’ ability to provide better customer service.

Tips to Implementation: Having the Denver Workforce Center at DIA has allowed staff to serve customers as well as airport businesses successfully. Customers are able to access valuable training, job placement services, and employment opportunities while employers can draw from a pool of employees who have undergone training directly related to their businesses. The onsite center makes it easy for customers and employers to drop in and check with the staff, and for staff to follow up in case additional issues arise. Identifying funding sources and developing sustainable partnerships are important. Patience on the part of funders also is needed as these types of programs may have a slow start and take time to demonstrate results. It is essential to spend time marketing to employers and businesses and developing relationships to create employment opportunities for customers.

Keys to Success: The staff have been vital to making the center a successful, inviting environment. The staff's first priority is helping customers. To be successful, staff must be able to show customers how the trainings and classes can help them, keep customers motivated, build customer trust, and help customers address their barriers to work.

The center also has done an excellent job of serving DIA, its employers, and customers by equipping clients with the skills needed to be successful at these jobs. Employers know they are hiring competent workers, while customers complete training with a specific skill that is immediately applicable. The adaptability and flexibility of the initiative also allow the center to tailor trainings to the special needs of employers and customers, which has been key.

Challenges:

  • Delays in opening the new Denver Workforce Center and launching the program at the airport.

  • Helping individuals understand how training would help them obtain a job and build a network.

  • Keeping individuals motivated.

  • Transportation has been a challenge, although the majority of those seeking jobs at the airport live in the vicinity.

  • Marketing the program to airport businesses and customers.

The following tools are associated with Denver International Airport (DIA) Workforce Center.  Please send us an email at upitoolkit@icfi.com for more information about these tools.

Trainings and Seminars

Details of the DIA Workforce Center's educational offerings.