PEP Hosts State and Local Vocational Rehabilitation Representatives


Tiffany Garcia, Business Outreach Specialist for the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Don Yoxsimer, Client Consultant for the Lamar Workforce Center, presented an overview for the Prowers Economic Prosperity board on the programs available to assist businesses and employees in the Prowers County Region.

“We have the ability to help workers to repurpose a prior profession into another one which can be just as rewarding and with as much merit,” she explained to the board during its January 23rd meeting.  “You could be an experienced law enforcement officer who receives an injury which prevents them from performing their prior duties, but with training, that experience can be transitioned into another, relatable profession,” she offered.

Garcia detailed a number of programs available through the Division which was created to help businesses recruit, hire and train skilled workers with disabilities as well as connecting them with a network of other sources to achieve similar goals.  Yoxsimer, a Lamar native, said he is a client consultant at the Workforce Center on East Olive Street who can provide specific examples of how a person can repurpose their business and work life goals.

Garcia added that Colorado is highly rated in the nation for what’s known as Agribility services. “If a farmer has a physical disability that prevents them from some work areas, the Division can help augment their actions with customized equipment that allows them to carry on most of their work as before, whether it’s a need to be able to mount and run a ten foot tall harvester or a pick-up truck.  They need to contact us so we can show them the way to do the needed work.”

Board members approved a REDI grant match of $5,500 to help secure future funding through OEDIT, the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade to continue funding for the Advanced Training Program at Lamar Community College.  The board also authorized up to $1,000 in travel expenses for Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez for a Select USA Summit in Washington, DC in May.  “OEDIT provides room and board for the gathering which hosts 1,200 investors from around the country and 70 international representatives.  If I’m selected to attend, this could help spread the word about Prowers County opportunities to the decision-makers, “she explained.

An election of officers for Pep was held with Anne-Marie Crampton remaining as president, Traegon Marquez as vice president, Tyler Thrall as treasurer, Brady Turpin as secretary and Joe Spitz and Rick Robbins will remain as at-large representatives.  The board noted to future events:  SBDC (Eastern Small Business Development Center) is cohosting “Startup Strong: Launch Your Business in A Day” on February 18th, 9:00-4:00 at the PEP Office. $30 per person must go to and register.  Brewing for Business with be at the Brew February 2nd, 7:00am and The Lamar Work Force will be joining the PEP representatives.  The public is encouraged to attend these events.

Sanchez said the BEAR committee will continue to focus on manufacturing for 2023, touching base with those business they interviewed last year.  One new PEP member, TA-76, the former Pilot Truck Stop may be able to assist with distribution outlets, given its wide scope in the southwest part of the country, especially Colorado and Kansas.  Sanchez said she plans to meet with the new manager at Pelsue which is located on Highway 50 south of Lamar as well as with realtor Ivor Hill who plans to develop 18 gated townhouses off East Parmenter Street.  The group working towards the annual business meeting, set for March 23rd, is still seeking a suitable site.

The board presented Prowers County Commissioner, Ron Cook, with a certificate of appreciation for his past eight years of support for the organization.

PEP Projects Manager, Tallie Harmon is developing series on monthly articles which will spotlight the accomplishments of businesses in the county with the first focus on Colorado Mills.  The next PEP meeting will be held on February 27th.
By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: AgricultureChamber of CommerceCountyEconomyEmploymentFeatured


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