It’s a job seeker’s market. The tri-county region of Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla has an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent. Help wanted signs are common, and it’s even worse for businesses that need extra help over the holidays.
CareerSource Capital Region CEO Jim McShane says his staff continues the push to match companies with workers who have the needed skills.
McShane: We are at full employment. So the people that are left that haven't found a job, if they go out and really have the skills that match, they're going to find a job right away. Employers are going to need to start to think about giving incentives to keep employees and to not have turnover because at this point in time, trying to find somebody that's skilled in what they're looking for is becoming increasingly difficult.
WFSU: Who is unemployed right now? Are these people highly educated; are they low wage?
McShane: Our Executive Center here usually handles folks that have PhDs and master's degrees and that type of thing. Unbeknownst to most people, we place people in jobs up to president of companies. So we are not just for those that are unskilled looking for a job. We have a lot of skilled people looking for a job.
Even though we might have 18,000 people roughly on a regular basis that are looking for a job in our area - which to me is a lot of folks - it still includes folks that are employed right now looking for better employment.
WFSU: If it's already difficult to find workers, now we're heading into Christmas and a lot of temporary workers are needed. Are you guys dealing with that as well?
McShane: Yes, whether it's part-time, full-time, doesn't matter. There's always demand at this point. The biggest complaint that we get from the business community is soft skills. What does that mean? It means showing up to work on time, showing up to work dressed properly, it means doing your job and not playing on the computer all day. It means a lot of things, and we have a class that we call Dynamic Futures that we've instituted … working on getting those soft skills into the curriculum at least at the high school level so that by the time they get out, they have a much better understanding of what the expectations are going to be by the business community.
WFSU: When you're pairing up these employees with these businesses, that's part of the deal. There is some training that goes into that, making sure they understand the expectations?
McShane: Yep, when we spend federal money to send somebody for training at TCC, FAMU, FSU, Kaiser, the truck driving schools, GTI, we only can pay for jobs that are in demand. So we do not train for jobs that either are very low paying, we don't pay for jobs that are not in demand. So that's why the local workforce boards are really localized because every local economy is different in this state… And we have hiring fairs.
Your taxpayer dollar pays for us. So it's free to use our system. Employflorida.com is the job board for the whole state. Then, what our staff does is try and match the people that are walking in with those jobs.