By Mark Ambrogi
A county-wide group has begun collaborating on the Work! Hamilton Co. initiative, designed to help understand staffing needs of employers and identify strategies for workforce development.
Tim Monger, president and CEO of the Hamilton Co. Economic Development Corp., said it is collaboration of his group, Hamilton Co. Tourism, the chambers of commerce and community leaders.
The survey, revealed April 19 with the initiative’s launch, showed 59 percent of Hamilton Co. employers plan to expand their workforce through 2019, and another 52 percent are challenged to fill existing vacancies.
“We decided it would be good to talk with some of our companies about talent attraction, especially for more technical, higher-skilled positions, in the case of information technology,” Monger said.
He said several companies reported they were also having problems recruiting entry-level employees.
Other figures from the survey include the fact that 51 percent face a shortage of mid-level candidates and 55 percent face a shortage of entry-level candidates.
This survey included 136 employers representing 15,742 jobs, as of March. Brad Coffing, research manager for the Hamilton Co. Economic Development Corp., said it has surveyed 167 companies from the county.
The survey also covered methods of training employees, what entry-level candidates lack as far as hard skills (such as critical/analytical thinking, written communications, English language, project management) and soft skills (such as motivation, dependability, professionalism, time management and interpersonal skills).
Sixty percent of employers believe a training program developed by Ivy Tech would be beneficial.
“The information we received we felt was interesting, but there wasn’t as much depth to it, so we’re going to do focus groups,” Monger said.
He said they are still trying to understand what the workforce issues are in each industry. Coffer said the three focus groups will meet, and hopefully complete their work in a day, by the end of May. SMARI Insights, a strategic marketing and research company, will conduct the focus groups.