Florence, Colorado, September 16, 2021: The Upper Arkansas Tourism and Retail Sector Partnership recently announced the expansion of outreach and engagement efforts to include small businesses, chambers of commerce, and other stakeholders in Lake, Chaffee, and Custer Counties. With the majority of the Sector Partnership’s initial efforts being focused on developing a localized strategy specific to Fremont County, Engagement Coordinator Kevin Mahmalji and his team are hoping to expand on early successes such as the recent launch of a hyperlocal job board and online career center. 


“We’re seeing some progress, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. Our message of accelerating economic growth through workforce empowerment is resonating with employees and employers alike,” said Mahmalji. “With upskilling and reskilling resources such as Career Readiness Bootcamp, Customer Service & Sales certification, and more, the Sector Partnership welcomes the opportunity to strengthen alliances within the Arkansas Valley region.”


To kick-off the next phase of outreach and engagement efforts, the Sector Partnership recently unveiled a promotional video – which will help raise awareness while expanding their digital footprint. Following the launch of the digital campaign, the Sector Partnership is hitting the road for a four county tour to promote a new online job board and career center as well as upskilling and reskilling opportunities. 


“Small businesses across the Arkansas River Valley, regardless of their best efforts, continue to struggle with staffing issues so they’re desperate for help. That’s why it’s imperative for the Sector Partnership to utilize the resources at our disposal to create a pipeline of skilled labor,” added Jeremy Boswell, Vice President of Park Operations, Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. “While it’s easy to speculate what the driving forces behind the labor shortage are, we’re focused on providing tangible solutions to re-energize our local economy – this starts with putting people back to work.” 


In addition to networking opportunities to grow their professional and personal connections, the series of after hours mixers will provide attendees a brief presentation about the work of the Upper Arkansas Tourism and Retail Sector Partnership across the region. 


  1. Custer County (Westcliffe) 

Location: Silverwest Feedstore

When: Monday, September 20, 2021

Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM


  1. Fremont County (Florence)  

Location: Pour House 

When: Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Time: 5:00PM – 7:00PM


  1. Fremont County (Canon City) 

Location: World’s End Brewery 

When: Friday, September 24, 2021

Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM


  1. Chaffee County (Buena Vista)  

Location: Eddyline Brewing Company 

When: Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Time: 5:00PM – 7:00PM


  1. Chaffee County (Salida)  

Location: Amicas Pizza and Microbrewery 

When: Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM


  1. Lake County (Leadville)   

Location: Tennessee Pass Cafe 

When: Friday, October 1, 2021

Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM


The Upper Arkansas Tourism and Retail Sector Partnership works in collaboration with Pueblo Community College, Colorado Workforce Centers across the region, and the Colorado Workforce Development Council, to promote resources and training for individuals currently employed in, or recently displaced from the tourism and retail industries to up-skill through the Lives Empowered Training Academy – which has been made possible by a $4.1 million grant from Walmart to the Colorado Workforce Development Council.


For press inquiries, please contact Diana Armstrong, [email protected]