Monday, October 17, 2011

Can't Find Workers? Less A Problem Here

Ariel Corporation in Mt. Vernon has billboards in Newark recruiting workers.  Companies in Franklin County, including business development groups, have been known to post billboards here too from time to time.

Add to that Ohio Governor Kasich who continually points to the number of available jobs posted on as a sign of unfilled jobs in Ohio.  There were over 80,000 when I was typing this.

Reuters just reported on the mismatch between 14 million unemployed in the U.S. coupled with reports of manufacturers not being able to fill job openings.  A Deloitte study published today says there are 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs.

There's a state and national crisis looming on shortage of available, skilled workers for manufacturing.

Yet, I just recently attended a meeting of manufacturers in Licking County and heard no such widespread panic about being able to find workers here.

What's going on?  How can Licking County be seemingly exempt from this issue?

I think part of the answer is that Licking County, though we still have much work to do, does a better job than most places in training under employed to ensure a constant pool of available job seekers for our manufacturers. 

C-TEC's national-model Manufacturing Certification Program is one example.  About to enter its next class on November 7, the program is marrying up underemployed people with job-needy manufacturers.  20 companies are enrolled in encouraging, interviewing, and, even, training people in the program.

COTC is also part of the equation. The associate degrees and customized training capabilities add to the pool as well.  Plus, COTC draws from an amazing number of counties in Ohio.

Our citizens are also part of the reason this issue hasn't hit here as hard.  Manufacturing is alive in Licking County and our workforce understands manufacturing remains a part of our future.

We also have a large number of out-commuters.  In fact, a March survey by Workenomics found that 9% of out-commuters report manufacturing skills.  That's a pool of thousands of workers who, given the chance, would want to work closer to home.

It's all about keeping pace. Licking County's capabilities come together better than most places in the nation to meet company workforce needs. That's the bottom line.

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