Ask a business owner about the younger generation of workers and the response will be polarized. Some claim younger workers are an essential part of the workforce, while others state younger generations of workers need focus in workplace skills such as communication, building credibility, accountability, and real-world problem solving.

According to Rick Day, business owner of Advantage Precast Inc. in Keizer, this happens for many reasons, such as lack of support in training for employers and younger workers.

Because of growing concerns from business leaders, the local Workforce Board, together with Incite Inc., created the Career Achievement Network to meet the needs of the emerging workforce in our community. The Career Achievement Network, nicknamed theNET, is a career training and placement program offered to participants who are 16 to 26 years old, not in school, and not working. TheNET provides young adult workers with paid work experience at local businesses and non-profits while simultaneously teaching appropriate workplace behaviors such as showing up on time, following through on tasks, and other necessary interpersonal skills that some individuals lack.

Rick Day has been involved with theNET from the beginning by providing youth opportunities to obtain employment readiness. “We have designated approximately 10 percent [of staff] for programs such as theNET and others to train primarily young people in how to work, and to learn entry level skills, often times leading to careers.”

So far, theNET has served over 157 participants, with 58 participants graduating, and 50 participants gaining direct-hire employment. Additionally, eight of those participants were directly hired at their internship site.

It is theNET’s goal for all participants to graduate from the program and gain sustainable employment or enroll in higher education in order to become active members of the community. If you are interested or if someone you know is interested in gaining a paid work experience, go to

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