Larimer County Celebrates Employee Innovation

Larimer County employees were recently recognized for finding better, innovative, and groundbreaking ways to serve our community better.

Larimer County’s greatest asset is its employees. On July 17, the Board of Larimer County Commissioners honored employees who have shown ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and hard work to improve how services are delivered to Larimer County residents at the 2023 Innovation Awards Program celebration.

Grand Prize, $3,000: Unified Communications as a Service (Zoom) Information Technology Team: Greg Tokarski, Hillary Koontz, Jay Morales, John Herin, Kasie Hill, Kelby Novaria, Kelly Haworth, Kristen Christensen, Lisa Puckett, Lorne Reynolds, Mallory chevalier, Nouran Badwei, Sarah Melocco.

The UCaaS/Zoom project was to replace the county’s Mitel/ShoreTel phone system with a Zoom Unified Communications as a Service platform to allow Larimer County employees to communicate more effectively and efficiently with each other and the public.

  • The team replaced 2,500 desk phones with Zoom softphones.
  • Added 72 Zoom Rooms countywide
  • Added Zoom meeting and webinar capability for all employees
  • Added SMS texting capabilities for all employees
  • Added Zoom Team Chat for all employees

Innovation – 2

1st Runner Up (tie), $1,000: PEER Program Human Services Team: Lori Metz, Jill Maasch, Lindy Blue.
The Partnership for Employee Engagement & Retention (PEER) is a collection of additional employee-related training and benefits to help manage the day-to-day stress of human services work. With the PEER program, employees learn more about the diverse platforms and programs within Human Services, and they have confidential discussions with trained peers to help navigate the ever-changing challenges Human Services staff experience in trying to meet the needs of the Larimer County community. PEER includes a robust new employee onboarding process and ongoing support and resources for all employees, both aimed at recruiting and retaining staff.

1st Runner Up (tie), $1,000: Digital Roots for Job Seekers Economic & Workforce Development Team: Tammy Olivas, Kelly Kilpatrick, Kayla Staley, Lupita Martinez, Yanet Fragoso.

All job seekers in Larimer County will have equal access to a digital support system to ensure they can compete for quality jobs. Those residents lacking internet access, computer skills, and devices are at risk of being left behind in a digital economy when applying for jobs. Larimer County Economic & Workforce Development’s Workforce Connections Team identified this as a significant workforce issue and developed a digital literacy program called Digital Roots for Job Seekers.

The Digital Roots Team partnered with local libraries to meet job seekers in the field to help them register for the program and with computer training. Those who complete the program receive the following:

Creation of an individualized job search plan.

  • Three months of internet service.
  • A computer is on loan for three months, with the potential to keep it indefinitely.
  • Basic digital training on the computer.
  • Direct access to digital support and a job search team during and after program participation.
  • Assistance with obtaining internet service after completion of the program.

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