A Message from President and CEO Julia Dattolo
It should go without saying that this past year has been the most challenging in our organization’s history.
On top of record unemployment arising from the COVID pandemic, we have seen our community’s emotions and fears heighten to a whole new level.
We are emerging from these times stronger, better and more adaptive in delivering our services when they are needed the most. Since the beginning of the pandemic we never stopped working to serve our employers, job seekers and other stakeholders via online platforms such as virtual job fairs, webinars and webcasts as well as phone, email and social media outlets. This has resulted in a new hybrid model in our delivery of services, some of them available 24/7, and one we plan to expand and improve upon in the future. The new methods we developed in providing our services are staying -- and some have even been shared for replication statewide.
As businesses across our region rebuild, CareerSource is very much engaged in helping employers find the talent they need to rebuild and thrive.
One of the most popular ways we’ve been helping employers is by hosting Virtual Job Fairs, some of these in collaboration with our CareerSource partners in the surrounding five-county area. We have held 10 virtual job fairs since March 2020 to connect hundreds of job seekers with employment at more than 200 area businesses. The virtual platform we use has been adopted for statewide use which allows for collaborative events among the state’s 24 regional CareerSource organizations.
While our team has made great strides in improving the quality, availability and delivery of services to our county’s workforce and employers, it’s important to understand who we are serving so that we are best able to plan and provide even more effective programs and services for the future. Accordingly, I’m pleased to share with you our very first State of the Workforce Report available at the link below. This report provides a comprehensive look at our county’s labor market, who are residents and employers are, their needs and the challenges they face – all in 15 pages. I would appreciate your review and feedback – and the opportunity to serve you with your employment needs.
CareerSource Palm Beach County's 1st Annual State of the Workforce Report
The December unemployment rate for Palm Beach County has moved back down to 5.5 percent, that was lower than the state rate at 5.8 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is a local job recovery of 60 percent since the low employment of 2020. We are still -38,900 jobs down compared to December 2019.
Will the business community be ready when the Pandemic ends?
Even in a year with so much change, the statement “workforce is the number one need of local businesses” remains the same. It’s true that many local businesses are desperately seeking skilled and qualified workers now. This need will only become greater as local business expansion returns in force to Palm Beach County. But talent development is complex, involving a vast array of institutions and organizations across decades (increasingly over a lifetime). It’s made more complex by a market that is rapidly and constantly changing, consequently employers are seeking workers who can upgrade their skills at the same rate over a career.
And now, COVID-19 has added to that talent development complexity. In May 2020, the Palm Beach County unemployment reached 14.1 percent, the highest level recorded since the Great Depression. As of November 2020 it was still at 6.1 percent, more than twice the pre-COVID February 2020 rate of 3 percent. Much of that job loss has been in sectors with already low wages (retail, food service, and transportation) where jobs are threatened by automation and technical advancements. As a result, communities like ours are grappling with a “K-shaped” recovery, where certain industries begin to recover while others remain in a recession.
Against this difficult backdrop, CareerSource Palm Beach County seeks to contribute to the conversation, providing new ideas, while fully recognizing the complexity of workforce development, particularly the uniqueness of the current situation. And while it’s been a difficult year, to say the least, we are incredibly optimistic. Of the roughly 96,535 local jobs that were lost locally at the onset of the pandemic, 57,873 have now been added back. We work daily with local partners to brainstorm and bring innovative ideas into reality, viewing the current economy and labor market as another opportunity to reimagine our approach to workforce development.
Talent attraction and development is driven by a few core principles: coordinate and collaborate, follow the lead of local business, and focus on skills. While the COVID-19 pandemic altered life and the economy since 2020, and will have some lasting impacts, the principles of talent attraction and development still remain unchanged. To address immediate local needs and capture current opportunities, near-term strategies can be adapted to current market trends. Likewise, long-term strategies can be tweaked to reflect the realities of a post-COVID world. But in both scenarios, the core principles of talent attraction remain the same.
Thinking both near and long term
Near Term 0 to 6 months: Catch the wave by focusing on the immediate needs of employers as they re-open. Some businesses have tried to re-hire workers previously furloughed or laid off, and while this may be initially a good strategy, they may find many workers that left the job market don’t plan to return. We are assisting in this effort, but many businesses may need to change course and look for a new class of employees. Hiring remote workers has been a strategy growing in popularity, including the offering various incentives, the pandemic has rejuvenated this tactic. When recruiting remote workers, we don’t solely focus on tech talent. Knowledge-based fields from legal to marketing are hiring remotely. And regardless of the career field, people are generally motivated by the same things: affordability, good schools, recreation, and cultural options.
6 months to 2 years: Transferable skills and responsive employment training programs are key during this period. New technologies and structural innovations mean that new jobs, even new industries, are appearing constantly. It also means that existing jobs have been or are being altered and often require new skills. Furthermore, a large group of people are still unemployed as a result of the pandemic. To meet the employment demand, we need to be nimble with our training programs, responding quickly to market shifts, and emphasize reskilling and upskilling.
This requires taking our cues from employers, it’s easy to be swayed by national employment trends. However, each region of the country is different and Palm Beach County is no exception, we should look no further than residential new home construction permits, up over 25 percent in 2020.
Our focus is on job seeker skills and how they can be transferred to a new occupation or industry. Skill are the common language used by employers and workers in the marketplace, they are essential when helping people change careers or to advance on their career path.
2 to 4 years: Technical and certificate training programs are the focus developing a long-term career path for job seekers. The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, our local economic development organization, has very busy recruiting business relocations into our county. The talent requirements of these new employers will produce significant local employment demand for skilled labor. We need to be proactive in understanding the needs of these employers, then working in conjunction with local leaders in education develop a sustainable pipeline of new skilled local talent.
The recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the service sector and its employees most. Workers in retail, hospitality, and food service industries make up a large portion of the unemployed. These workers, however, tend to have strong human skills such as communication, problem solving, and teamwork. These skills, when coupled with a technical skill, create the versatile worker many employers are seeking. This is a longer form of skill transferability, but a great opportunity to work with post-secondary education and training providers to not only reemploy displaced workers, but also build resiliency and meet future regional demand.
In closing, we will continue to focus on the changing needs of our employer community. The rapid changes in the work environment present new opportunities. Our plan is to connect business with talent and deliver measurable improvements to our community, data is our best friend. Not only does it ensure that we won’t be led astray by wishful thinking or bias as we develop our plan, it’s the single best way to get key stakeholders on board with a joint vision. Building a local talent base is not an easy task. But it offers incalculable benefits to the economy, to the strength and resilience of our community, and to future generations.
CareerSource Palm Beach County has scheduled the following virtual job fairs for the first half of 2021:
- Jan. 27 – Tesla (automotive and solar energy)
- Feb. 17 – Professional/Business Services (finance, banking, insurance, etc.)
- March 17 – Aviation/Marine/Engineering/Environmental/Architecture (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry, mason, roofer, etc.)
- April 21 – Healthcare/Life Sciences/Pharmaceutical/Medical
- May 19 – Technology/Telecom
- June 23 – Advanced Manufacturing
- July 21 – Protective Services/Security
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hire the talent you need to help your business rebuild and thrive! There is no cost to participate, but advance registration is required. See our website at www.careersourcepbc.com for more information or contact your Business Services account representative at 561.340.1060.
CareerSource held 10 virtual hiring events since March 2020 to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 200 area employers.
We offer the following at no cost to employers:
Job Posting & Recruiting Post open positions on our statewide jobs database, Employ Florida, where people apply to your open positions in whichever means suits your company best. Work with one of our professional recruiters who will actively seek out qualified candidates for your open positions.
Virtual Job Fairs Employers may post one or more open positions in a virtual job fair. Candidates can access your virtual booth where you can screen the candidates and, if interested, go to a one-on-one video interview.
On-the-Job Training Grants OJT's are used to assist the employer in finding and securing employees that may not have all the technical skills required for the position. Employers are reimbursed at least 50% of the wage rate of an OJT participant for the costs of providing the training and additional supervision related to the OJT.
Customized Training For training future employees or recent hires who meet eligibility requirements. CSPBC reimburses the employer 50% of the cost of training for each individual that completes the training and is employed/retained by the employer after the training.
Labor Market Information Data about labor supply and demand, earnings, employment and unemployment statistics, job outlook, and demographics of the labor force.
Incumbent Worker Training Grants Provides grants for continuing education and training of current full-time employees. This program can be helpful when planning a large business expansion or training staff on new technologies to avert downsizing. The program will provide reimbursement grants to businesses that pay for preapproved, direct, training related costs.
In-person Hiring Events CareerSource works with employers on mass hiring events. This no-cost recruiting service allows employers to interview a large number of qualified candidates in one convenient location and time.
Apprenticeships Formal technical instruction combined with paid on-the-job learning. Workers learn practical skills associated with a particular industry and/or employer using a structured program of "Learn While You Earn". Business gains the trained talent they need and the employees earn nationally recognized credentials that attest to the skills they have gained.
CareerSource Palm Beach County is featured on pages 19 and 20 in the latest issue of the BDB’s quarterly PBC Business Magazine. Each page features employer testimonials from Bernardo Neto, General Manager of The Ben in West Palm Beach and Roger Amidon, General Manager of Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa.