Virtual Career System Showcased for Statewide Application
We recently hosted Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), to demonstrate our Virtual Career System (VCS) and to tour our Central Career Center in West Palm Beach. Not only did he say how impressed he was with the VCS in his presentation to Florida business leaders the next day, he recognized our team for our accomplishments in increasing employment in Palm Beach County.
Just five months into his new job as DEO Executive Director, Ken Lawson met with our CareerSource team for a personal demonstration of the many features and capabilities of our Virtual Career System.
The VCS is our user and mobile-friendly web portal designed to guide career seekers through their job search campaign, connect employers with talent and business solutions, and introduce students to exciting new career possibilities – all available 24/7.
Director Lawson told us that he was very impressed with the VCS and its “many creative, intuitive and user-friendly features for job seekers, employers, educational institutions and students.” We also conducted a follow-up webinar on the VCS for his senior staff members. As the next step, we are urging him to adopt the VCS as a state-sponsored system for rollout to all 24 workforce regions in Florida.
The following day, the director spoke at the Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity held by the Florida Chamber of Commerce at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. While he addressed topics ranging from the statewide employment outlook to the $40 million Job Growth Grant Fund passed at the legislative session earlier this year, he highlighted how the CareerSource network operates throughout the state to help guide individuals looking for work, employers looking to connect with qualified candidates, and the availability of grants for job skills training.
Both events were proud and memorable milestones for us at CareerSource Palm Beach County. We were honored by Director Lawson’s visit and, in meeting many of our team members during his tour of our career center, he was able to see first-hand our commitment to quality and service excellence throughout our operations.
Let us put this expertise to work for your business. Learn how easy it is to take advantage of our recruitment, assessment and referrals of qualified job candidates, including our Professional Placement Network for employers who are seeking top level talent. We also offer space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates, and grants for training employees.
Learn more about our programs and services to help your business in this issue and on our website at www.careersourcepbc.com.
The most recent unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is 3.6 percent, that was lower than nation’s rate at 3.8 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is an increase of nearly 15,000 jobs as measured in June 2019 compared to June 2018.
Today's Low Unemployment Rate, Good, Bad and Ugly
This economic cycle is setting records every month, but they aren’t always what we would expect. We've had almost 10 years of U.S. economic growth; the unemployment rate is at a 30-year low and could go even lower.
I've lived through five major economic cycles so far and I just want to talk about the challenges presented by all this, with a particular focus on what HR organizations and employers face as a result of this time of job security and prosperity.
Lots of Jobs, Not Enough Skilled Workers
Yes, there are a lot of jobs being created: more jobs than there are people in fact. Employers are opening up many new positions to compete for this economic growth, and many of these are positions in Healthcare, Construction, Engineering, IT, Service and support positions.
Interestingly, most jobs today demand soft skills not just technical skills. A study just completed by Bloomberg and Workday finds that college graduates are not bringing enough technical or soft skills to the job market (only 35% of employers feel grads are sufficiently ready) and four in ten are building remedial programs to try to fill this gap. So while there are a lot of jobs open, we are seeing an increasingly wide gap between the jobs being created and the skills and experiences in the workforce to fill them.
This creates stress among hiring managers, stress among HR teams, and stress among CEOs. The 2018 Conference Board CEO study found that "failure to attract and retain top talent" is now the No. 1 issue on the minds of CEOs, even more important than the competition or the disruptive nature of technology. This is why the learning and development (L&D) market is exploding with growth, and new tools and solutions are being snatched up by employers. CareerSource Palm Beach County is working with local education, and training providers to help resolve these hard and soft skill gaps.
Difficult to Hire a Ghost
Of course the biggest challenge employers find in this kind of economy is how hard it is to attract the right people. Recruiters are armed with lots of new weapons to find people, but they're also finding a 40% increase in time to hire. This is simply the result of candidates being more selective, and even trends like "job ghosting," where job candidates just "disappear." Candidates are just "disappearing" in the interview process or even after a position offer because they see so many other opportunities available.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago cited an uptick in ghosting in its December 2018 economic activity report. An array of media outlets including the Washington Post and Business Insider have been publishing stories about the pitfalls of the practice.
To be successful in filling these positions, we are thinking of new and creative ways of overcoming these obstacles. Sometimes it’s just a change in how you implement an old idea that works too. Take, for example, the renewed emphasis on Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship programs. When effectively designed and implemented these programs can resolve many of the problems outlined above.
Here are a few more of the latest trends we see in HR, business leadership, and the job market:
- Focus on employee productivity and wellbeing. In this kind of job market, everyone feels stress. Your job as a business leader or HR manager has to focus on what you can do to reduce barriers, making work easier.
- Reduce the clutter, help managers set clear goals, simplify your organizational structure, and make sure you have a rich set of wellbeing programs to offer. You will see a huge ROI by investing in this area.
- Get your recruitment house in order. The latest Deloitte talent acquisition research found that 74% of companies are still doing "transactional recruiting." In other words, they take a job requisition (typically opened by a manager), post it on the internet to start the recruiting process. In today's job market this is ineffective. If you aren't honing your employment brand, seeking out passive candidates who fit your culture, actively engaging with senior leadership to improve your talent pipeline, and looking seriously at gig work and leveraging talent pools, you're fishing in a pond that is way overfished.
- Take your employee engagement problems very seriously. Every day we read a story about some work-related practice (unfair pay, mistreatment of an employee, lack of diversity in leadership), and it hurts your own company. Yes, we all want to hire, grow, and gain market share - but if we don't do it in a meaningful way, we will lose our best people and ultimately when the next recession comes, people simply will not make the sacrifices you need to keep your business growing.
CareerSource Palm Beach County’s West Career Center in Belle Glade provides critical services to the Glades communities. During the past program year, staff in the West Career Center assisted in placing more than 4,000 Glades residents in jobs!
Recent efforts in the Glades area don’t stop at job placements. CareerSource activities also include a Glades Job Fair, new training classes taking place in the West Career Center, outreach to migrant and seasonal farmworkers, participation on the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies committee, Farmworker Career Development Program advisory board, and the Glades PATCH (Planned Approach to Community Health) board. Assistant Vice President Charles Duval will also feature CareerSource’s services at the Full Council Business meeting for the Florida Council on Social Status of Black Men and Boys this month.
“CareerSource works in partnership with area business and community leaders, educational partners, and other key stakeholders in combined efforts to increase employment and economic opportunity in the Glades communities,” Charles said.
Outreach to actual and potential projects is another important collaborative effort, Charles explained. A direct result of this has been the addition of 3 new businesses in the area and a fourth that is expanding.
Job training to help residents acquire new job skills or upgraded job skills is an important component to improving lives. During the past 5 program years, CareerSource has provided $935,000 in training funds to local employers and residents. While the population in the Glades communities is less than 3% of the county at large, about 20% of our budget, including 12% of training funds, goes to serving this area.
Last month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 7071: Workforce Education bill promoting career readiness and workforce opportunities for students and working adults, and ensuring alignment between Florida’s education and workforce needs.
“By investing in workforce education and apprenticeship programs, our students will have new opportunities and career paths,” said Governor DeSantis. “In signing this bill, we are ensuring that Florida continues to build upon its economic momentum and future workforce by investing in the next generation.”
Highlights of the bill include:
- Establishing the “Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program,” which provides competitive grants to eligible institutions to create or expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
- Requiring a reverse transfer between Florida universities and colleges to award an associate in arts degree to students who have completed necessary requirements.
- Requiring career centers and Florida College System institutions to establish regional career pathways guaranteeing college credit toward an aligned associate degree program for eligible students who graduate with a certificate from a career center.
- Establishing the “Last Mile Scholarship Program,” that will pay for eligible individuals to finish their first associate or baccalaureate degree.
- Creating increased opportunities for students to take high quality computer science courses in high school by allowing students to count one course as either a require science or required math credit.
- Codifying Governor DeSantis’ required audit of career and technical education, from Executive Order 19-31, as an annual requirement to ensure high quality pathways for students.