GREENVILLE – According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio’s rate of growth for the workforce is slowing.
From 1998 to 2008, the workforce increased by 5.3 percent. But that’s a far cry from 2018’s projection, which is only 1.6 percent.
This means that the job market will become even more competitive if current economic trends continue.
But while Ohio deals with a shortage in job growth overall, county businesses are having a hard time finding competent workers locally.
Darke County Job Center Quality Reviewer Sherry Mueller knows firsthand about the shortage of workers with basic job skills such as intermediate math, interpersonal skills and computer competency.
That’s why she’s working with the Darke County manufacturing readiness program, along with other Darke County officials, to find permanent employment for local residents.
“We have a collaboration in the county where we’re all working together for the same goal. And I think that is very positive,” Mueller said. “We’re speaking with employers and addressing issues that maybe have not even been thought of.”
The program was developed with input from local companies to provide entry-level manufacturing skills such as print reading, quality control, employer expectations, and basic manufacturing math.
While local manufacturing remains one of Darke County’s most vital industries, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services predicts that the industry’s annual employment will decline by .5 percent by 2020.
In the same report, the ODJFS predicts that home health care services, individual and family services, management and technical services, oil and gas extraction and air transportation are among Ohio’s five fastest growing job markets projected into 2020.
ODJFS also foresees that service-providing industries such as technical services and recreation management will increase by 11.3 percent in the next eight years, while self-employed and private household jobs will decrease by 2.6 percent.
Here in Darke County, the Job Center is receiving feedback from local employers that many employees don’t stay with the job once hired, and cannot pass drug tests, which complicates the issue.
The Darke County readiness program counters those concerns by screening candidates and engineering their curriculum to emulate real working conditions.
“All of that curriculum is based upon the feedback from the employers, so that they are going to be getting those things taken care of and all those issues are addressed,” Mueller said.
Local businesses are also having concerns about workers with previous felony records, which complicates their potential employment. Many of these crimes are committed 10 to 20 years in the past, but their previous records still hurts their chances.
“I’m hoping our employers will look at these cases a little closer. There’s a lot of good workers out there that have made mistakes,” Mueller said.
While many programs exist in the county to teach basic technical skills, Mueller advises each potential employee to familiarize themselves with basic computer skills, not only for on-the-job work, but also to apply for jobs posted in online databases.
“I always encourage individuals to upload individuals to upload their resumes to that database,” Mueller said. “Employers can go on the database to search the resumes to find the skill set that they’re looking for.”