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Work program builds skills, resumes of young participants

Kane Rimel, a senior at Kingman Academy of Learning High School, works at Kingman Honda. (KIM STEELE/Miner)

KINGMAN - The difference between Kane Rimel's job experience this year and last through Mohave County's One-Stop Career Center's COYOTE program is like night and day.

Last year, Rimel, 17, a senior at Kingman Academy of Learning High School, guided people stopping in at the Kingman Visitor's Center as they sought out interesting tourist attractions. This year, he applied for a position as an assistant mechanic at Kingman Honda and was quickly hired for the job.

"This is a much better fit for me," said Rimel, who changes oil, adjusts tire pressure and fills fluids. "I felt that I had the experience already, and it's something I'm really interested in pursuing as a career. I think the COYOTE program is great because it takes jobs with a future and makes it possible for people like me to get those jobs."

Rimel stood out as the best man for the job, said Dusty Simpson, Rimel's supervisor at Honda's Express Service. Simpson said he interviewed five candidates and Rimel dressed appropriately and answered questions professionally.

"He interviewed better than most adults, and he's done a great job so far," said Simpson, noting it is the first time Honda has participated in the program. "COYOTE teaches responsibility and it gives participants knowledge they can use in everyday life. For us, it generates more business and gets the word out that we work with the community's youth."

COYOTE, which stands for The COalition YOuth TEam, provides in-school and out-of-school people ages 14 to 21 opportunities and resources that help them join the workforce and reach self-sufficiency. This year's program, which began June 2 and ends July 18, features 34 participants at 21 job sites in Kingman. The program also runs in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City.

Participants receive guidance and counseling, tutoring and study skills, occupational skill training and leadership development opportunities. During the program, they learn to fill out applications, complete an interview, create a professional resume, use time management skills and make career decisions.

"This program gives the participants a big step up in choosing a career path," said Jen Miles, workforce development manager for the Mohave County Community Services Department, which oversees the 11-year-old program.

"They begin to understand the education and skills needed to get a job, and how to interview and keep a job. They learn work readiness and demonstrate it on the job."

Miles said the work component is based on pay for performance. A supervisor evaluates the youths each day and bases the amount of their training stipend on their punctuality, attitude, appropriate dress, task completion and interpersonal relations.

The program also is a boon to the county, said Heather Meek, front office coordinator for the Mohave County Treasurer's Office, which has participated for two years. Meek said she has seen COYOTE members in other county departments, such as elections, probation and environmental health, and has heard good things about them.

"They're happy to see them come in," said Meek. "Being in COYOTE instills responsibility and teaches the participants how to stick with tasks. It gives them structure for the future and is a real-life experience they can use again."

Meek has been guiding Kalin Comins, 16, a junior at Kingman High School, as he scans tax corrections, performs data entry and inventories office surplus, including old records the county received from the Mohave County Museum. Comins was participating for the first year on the advice of a friend who said it was a good way to earn money and get experience.

"I'm enjoying this," said Comins. "The atmosphere is good, because the people who work here like their jobs and what they're doing. I like it because it's varied work and there's always something new. Not only has it given me a better understanding of taxes, it has helped me put together a resume, interview and gain valuable work experience."


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