Monday, October 11, 2010

Jobless Need Technical Expertise to Re-enter Workforce

In today’s evolving workforce, there is an increasing demand for technical and computer expertise.

AP Economics writer Christopher Rugaber has reported that in the midst of financial crisis, many retirees and aging employees are finding the need to return to work, but many are not able to compete because the jobs they once knew so well are now relying on technical skills that were not needed before. People are beginning to discover they cannot even qualify for their old positions. Unfortunately, this further hinders the staggering unemployment rate across the country. As most employers are looking for a specific skill set, they are not turning to the unemployed/formerly employed sector, but rather those individuals already employed who are already equipped with the skills they need.

The competition to obtain a job in general is compounded by the fact that most manufacturing industries (where much of the retired workforce has experience) now require two skill sets: business analysis and system analysis. Christopher Rugaber of the Associated Press, reports this trend is a result of companies’ decision to control costs during the recession. The goal is to hire fewer people with varied skills which in turn maintains or increases productivity.

Rugaber reports, “Human resource specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren’t willing to settle for less. They’d rather wait and hold jobs vacant”.

This is one of the issues that Cape Fear Future will help to address. The skills gap is growing in today’s workforce and it is important to push forward those training and educational programs necessary in addressing the needs of employers. Cape Fear Future is exploring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs to be implemented in the New Hanover County School System that may better prepare the upcoming workforce. Moreover, to assess the needs of local employers, the Cape Fear Future Education Task Force has distributed surveys asking employers the current educational/technical expertise needed in their field, the current performance/proficiency of their employers, and those demands they expect from future applicants. This survey will allow a closer look at the needs and expectations of our recent graduates, and our current and future workforce.

Click here to read Christopher Rugaber’s full article.