By Fred Stabbert III
Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes sat back in his seat last Wednesday night, looking his...
To the People: Talk to anyone in business these days about workforce and you are likely to get the same answer. “I have jobs but cannot find anyone suitable to work for me…”
So what is the problem? Is there an increasing gap between what the market is demanding and what we are training our people to do? Some say there is.
I have talked to business owners from many varied sectors facing the same issue. From healthcare to engineering to someone working as a certified automobile tech, (not exactly a low-paying unskilled job) there is demand but no applicants that can meet the skill set required.
If you think this is a Sullivan County issue, think again. It is happening nationwide. So
naturally it begs the question with all of the jobs that will be available in hospitality in the near future in Sullivan County, how will we be able to meet the demand?
The broader issue will of course require some structural changes to the way we as a society approach work and jobs.
We have so overemphasized the collegiate pathway to success that we have a significant population with degrees in areas of expertise with no market demand.
Furthermore, there is statistic evidence that shows that we have as a society not focused on preparing a segment of our population for blue collar jobs, that do not require college degrees but offer well-paying sustainable jobs with reasonable benefits.
While many of those jobs have gone overseas, recent circumstances have begun creating an environment where light manufacturing and advanced manufacturing can be done here again. Hence our current efforts to prepare locations to attract investment in this sector, building upon recent light manufacturing attraction and expansion projects.
The more local issue is certainly more immediate as we are just 8 months from the opening of two major hospitality centered projects – Resorts World and Veria.
To that end The County, SUNY Sullivan BOCES and others that make up the Catskills Hospitality Alliance have been working steadily to create and offer training and assistance to locals interested in obtaining employment in the hospitality sector, whether at these facilities or others in the development pipeline.
At just over 4 percent unemployment, however, we cannot possibly fill the total demand from Sullivan County. So employees will be coming from Sullivan County, the Hudson Valley Region and well beyond. Our effort is to help train prospects to be better prepared for the hiring process and we are doing that.
You will soon be hearing about offerings from SUNY Sullivan, BOCES, and employers as well as special events geared to inform the public about current and anticipated job opportunities.
In addition we will be calling on local employers that directly serve the general public to ready themselves for our anticipated new visitors in 2018.
Messaging will be crafted and disseminated through various media outlets to help create top of mind awareness in that regard. Workforce will continue to be a challenge for us all. The good news is we now have a growing demand to serve.