Local businesses continue to express finding employees is one of their biggest barriers. Population decline, skills deficits, and failed drug tests are often listed as reasons enough prospective employees are lacking, but you may be surprised to learn that lack of knowledge about available jobs may be the largest contributor to the shortage of qualified applicants.
There are those who are simply unaware of the number of open positions, that span from entry level to high skills trades and professional careers. Then there are those who assume that they are not a good match for the available jobs, because of a mismatch in the skills possessed and the advertised job description/requirements.
Unfortunately, it has become common to hear that many people do not have a familiarity with our local businesses, what they do, and what job opportunities they have available. There appears to be many opportunities to bridge gaps between communities.
Long gone are the days when multi generations of family members worked for the same businesses, passing along information about a business’s products, services, and culture of the company, typically accompanied by a special kind of pride.
Most recently, 10th grade students from Oil City High School visited several local businesses including Klapec Trucking, Webco, Millcraft, Pepro, and USA Choice. Oil City High School Principal Scott Stahl remarks: “These tours were very valuable for students, but just as impactful to the teachers who had the chance to chaperone the tours.” To include all high school teachers and 12th grade students, Scott has planned for presentations throughout the school year, with business leaders addressing teacher and student groups. Chamber President Susan Williams has been assisting in making introductions between educators and businesses.
Local school districts Valley Grove, Cranberry, and Titusville invite business representatives to assist them in providing seniors with realistic mock interviews, after thorough preparation in preparing a resume, application, and cover letter. Several Chamber members and staff have or will participate as volunteers and report that the students are remarkably prepared for a job search.
Businesses who are interested in participating in career readiness programs can contact the Chamber to be identified for future presentations and volunteer opportunities.
Additionally, businesses can continue to submit their information to be included in the Job Shadow Resource Guide and to have Job Posters created for use by the schools, by visiting venangochamber.org/education-committee-2019.
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.