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'I Can Do This': Those Looking For Work Attend I-70 Expansion Job Fair

By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)- The Colorado Department of Transportation is gearing up for a major project that will change the landscape of Interstate 70 through the central part of Denver.

job fair (1)
(credit: CBS)

The Central 70 Project will dramatically impact the community from Colorado Boulevard to Brighton Boulevard. The Colorado Department of Transportation is now hiring people who live there.

"The Central 70 Project is by itself a major economic driver for the entire Denver-metro region. CDOT wanted to also ensure that these economic and job opportunities were made available to local residents," said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director. "CDOT is one of only a few DOTs in the nation to implement local hiring and we are doing this not just by setting hiring goals but by actively reaching out to our partners to create a comprehensive support system that makes a career in construction accessible for everyone."

The zero cost training was part of the agreement with the Central 70 Project, the City of Denver and an investment from Gary Community Investments.

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(credit: CBS)

It requires 20 percent of the Central 70 workforce (the equivalent of approximately 350 local residents), to be hired from 15 local neighborhoods adjacent to I-70 in Denver and Aurora.

The neighborhood career training and resource center, which opened in July, doesn't just offer physical construction training. It offer six courses in a facility with three work bays, four hands-on training rooms and a yard designated for heavy equipment. It also offers support services, including an on-site financial counselor.

On Wednesday night the training center, at 3600 E. 46th Ave. hosted a job fair for recent graduates of the training program.

"I actually did show up two hours early, I got here at 1 o'clock," said Coney Fontenelle.

Coney Fontenelle
Coney Fontenelle (credit: CBS)

He says he's finding a job hasn't been easy because of his learning disability but the instructors at the training program didn't care and gave him the hands on training he needed to succeed.

"This class actually brought me out of my comfort zone and got me saying I can do this and get a job," he told CBS4.

For some like Melisa Nazario it's already playing dividends.

"I actually got an interview for Monday and they told me I actually should be hired. So right away I got a job," said Nazario.

LINK: The Central 70 Workforce Development Program

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.

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