Employers address hiring concerns, want to return to apprenticeships

Published 2:53 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Recently, business and industry representatives, training leaders and education providers met to discuss issues facing them now and in the future. The regional event was hosted by Southeast AlabamaWorks at the Geneva Regional Career Technical Center.
“I think the biggest challenge that business people in our part of Alabama face is qualified, technical people to work in a manufacturing environment…who not only work for themselves but for the greater good of the company,” said former Southeast AlabamaWorks Chairwoman Anne Savage, controller, American Building Co., which employs 300 employees in Eufaula.
Other business professionals added their first-hand observations.
“We want to see the return of the construction apprenticeship.said Bart Liddon, owner, Bart Liddon Homes in Dothan.
Ryan Richards, director, Southeast AlabamaWorks, shared concerns from other employers in the region, including the following:
• Retention of and finding employees with a semi-skilled foundation developed in high school
• Finding qualified people who also possess critical thinking skills
• Finding individuals who possess a basic ethic of arriving on time and adhering to a work schedule
• Prospective employees who don’t possess face-to-face communications skills
• Locating employees who are drug-free
• Willingness to move to a rural area
Added Richards, “Our education system personnel are listening and responding to business and industry needs. But, guidance starts at home. We’d like parents to know that excellent careers can be attained via certifications from two-year colleges and even dual-enrollment opportunities in high school.”
Southeast AlabamaWorks is also taking an active role in educating young people about technical-based jobs. Its Southeast World of Works: Ignite Your Future event will be held Feb. 21 and 22 for eighth graders at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan.
“We presently have 4,934 students from across our region attending this event. Companies will have hands-on activities for the kids to participate in at their booths. Wage and training information will also be available,” he said.
Southeast WOW is still accepting applications from businesses for a free booth. The specific disciplines available are agriculture, construction, manufacturing, automotive technology, healthcare and public service/military. Interested companies can contact Richards at 334-792-5136 or visit southeastwow.com.
Southeast AlabamaWorks’ mission is to fill the gaps between training, unfilled jobs and potential employees. It is the umbrella organization for AIDT, the K12 system, the two-year college system, the Career Centers, Alabama Technology Network, the Department of Commerce and the Alabama Department of Labor. To learn more, visit www.alabamaworks.com.