By Mary LaFontaine, CareerCenter Manager
I recently read a headline in my local paper: "Economist says Maine needs to Import Young, Productive Workers;" and a current press release stating: "Speaker Mark Eves Launches Series of Round Table Discussions on Aging and Impact on Maine's Future."
While these two headers are recorded in Maine, they are part of a nationwide issue. According to the USDOL, over the 2010 to 2020 decade, 54.8 million total job openings are expected. While growth will lead to many openings, more than half (61.6 percent) will come from the need to replace workers who retire or otherwise permanently leave an occupation.
The labor shortage is real. This article will not give data to support that, the Department of Labor in your state can provide data, if you need it, and it's likely that your applicant pools are already showing it. I have written articles about applicant pools to consider as you grow and diversify your applicant base. However, my conversation here is to talk about organizations in your community that can help you access new applicants.
1. Adult Education Offices
Did you know that adult education offices offer work readiness and work skills training? They work with displaced workers who are exploring career options. Their staff welcomes businesses into their classrooms to conduct mock interviews, to share information about local employment opportunities and to educate displaced workers on employer expectations of new applicants and employees.
United Way and the nonprofits that they support interface with people who are unemployed and looking for their next career. Nonprofit agencies obviously rely on volunteers. Can your employees volunteer to build relationships with nonprofit staff and other volunteers? Relationships with nonprofits certainly benefit the communities in which you work and live, but they also create visibility for your company and provide access to clients served by those nonprofits and their volunteers.
3. Government Services
Your local One-Stop is a great resource for connecting with people in your state who are in transition and looking for their next employment opportunity. Look up your local career office and call them. You can ask how they can help you recruit and if they hold on-site recruiting events. In addition, most one-stop centers hold workshops for job seekers and welcome HR staff and recruiters into the workshops to talk about your expectations of job seekers. During these workshops, you get to meet people you might not have otherwise met and gain visibility for your business.
Like one-stops, local vocational rehabilitation and human services offices are working with clients to help them gain employment. Both are building relationships with businesses to share business expectations with clients and connect clients to employment opportunities. Additionally, most human services and vocational rehabilitation offices have financial resources available to assist in training and on-boarding for their clients who might gain employment in your business.
4. Schools and Colleges
Finally, but certainly not least, your local high schools, colleges, and universities all desire to partner with businesses so that their students understand business needs and expectations and to create hiring opportunities for current students and graduates. This is also a great opportunity for you to help shape curriculum to ensure future employees have the skills you desire.
Influencing The Future
While these community connections may not answer all of your immediate recruitment needs, using these partners will ensure visibility for your business and will increase your influence on the workforce of today and tomorrow.
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Mary LaFontaine is a relationship builder extraordinaire! A manager with the Maine Department of Labor's CareerCenter for the past eight years, she also serves as a City Councilor for the City of Auburn, she teaches a course called "Finding Your Calling" at University of Southern Maine, L-A campus, and she is a board member at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. Mary holds a master's degree in adult education and an undergraduate degree in studio art. For more information, please check out the Lewiston CareerCenter website.