In interacting with business owners, one of the go-to questions I regularly ask is, ”What is preventing you from moving forward with your plans or expansion?”
Nearly every time, the answer I hear is, ”Finding good people.” It is interesting to me that this answer has not changed with the ebbs and flows of our general economy.
It’s hard to imagine now, but as recently as 2006 our local unemployment rate bottomed at 2.7 percent. That’s when just about anyone who could fog a mirror had a job.
It was understandable then when a business owner would cite “finding good people” as a reason they were being held back. Now, contrast that with the scary 2010 high figure of 10.6 percent unemployment rate. Sure enough, we heard the same feedback from business owners.
Suffice it to say, it’s likely there will not be a solution soon. Those ambitious enough will have to look under every rock to find the labor they need.
We spent some time this month working on a feature about a program offered from Lutheran Social Services. They help refugees get acclimated and trained to contribute to our workforce. The stakes are high for refugees and the results have been good for them and their employers. Special thanks go to National Training Inc and Tempool for contributing to the editorial feature by sharing their experiences.