PEP Annual Meeting set for March 23rd at Las Brisas



Prowers Economic Prosperity will hold its annual meeting, Thursday, March 23rd at 6:30pm at Las Brisas Restaurant in Lamar.  PEP project manager, Tallie Harmon, outlined the basic agenda for the annual gathering, informing board members during the February 27th monthly meeting, Gregory Thompson from the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade will be the keynote speaker.

Anthony LaTour and Rachel Dunning from the Lincoln Alternative Education Program described the continuing Colorado Re-engagement Program, an attempt to have high school students return to the physical classroom to finalize their education objectives and graduation.  LaTour is the Education Coordinator and Dunning is principal at McClave High School.  LaTour said there are 2 ½ years remaining on the program’s grant and he reviewed the student to business project he initiated with PEP board members last year.  “We have three areas we need to fulfill,” he explained, noting they were work study, job shadowing and internship.  “We need ten hours a week for the students in work study while job shadow is an hour for an hour basis and the internship option is on a volunteer basis.”

Dunning said the main goal of the project is to have students graduating from the area, find available jobs for them locally, allowing them to be employed in their hometowns in a suitable job that offers future growth.  PEP board members discussed the need for legal caution when it came to compensating the students for their time as there are age and work restrictions on what can be expected from a business when hiring students under a certain age.

Dr. Rosana Reyes, Lamar Community College President, attended her first official PEP meeting and expressed her thanks toward community members for making her feel welcome at the college and in the community.  When asked if she would be willing to chair the PEP Workforce Development/Entrepreneurship committee as her predecessor, Dr. Lujan had done, Reyes said she would attend some future meetings to gain a better understanding of what was required, but preferred to become more acquainted with the general workings of the economic organization at this time.

Tallie Harmon said she is working with a new concept for future monthly meetings with Brewing for Business, an informal gathering the first Thursday of each month which meets from 7am to 8am at Brew Unto Others on South Main Street in Lamar.  “Usually, we have a central theme or speaker, but the next few meetings can be open to suggestion for general topics of interest,” she explained.  Harmon will be attending the Holly Commercial Club meetings, the first Wednesday of each month.

PEP executive director, Cheryl Sanchez, listed various meetings scheduled through the month including one for restaurant training with the owners of the soon-to-open Cow Palace Inn, PEP, Lamar Community College and the state office of Economic Development and International Trade will discuss grant opportunities and the Wiley Steering Committee will meet on March 16th to continue community projects with GoCO.

By Russ Baldwin

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