Author: Kathy Staffod, JCBEA Executive Director
You read about it all the time – our unemployment rate is down, the economy is strong, and businesses are hiring again. Nowhere can that be truer than here in Colorado. But with that good news comes challenges that business owners also face, and those challenges relate to the workforce.
In the June 2018 survey of small business owners, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) noted that 21% of owners state finding qualified workers is their single biggest challenge. With the unemployment rate so low, some labor markets have more job openings than qualified workers for those positions. As such, businesses are turning to part-time and temporary workers to help fill the gap.
So how do we ensure that we have workers with the appropriate skill sets to help meet the employment demands in our community? Jeffco Public Schools is currently working to connect with businesses to ensure that as they understand businesses’ hiring needs, educators can tailor appropriate classes and skills can be taught to the upcoming workforce. In the recent Classroom to Careers Summit, there was great discussion and brainstorming as to how we can begin to incorporate these needs and action items into our everchanging curriculum at the middle school/high school levels.
JCBEA is actively involved in these discussions. Our role is to train high school seniors on those career skills they need to be successful with an employer. We teach them customer service and phone etiquette, problem solving skills, critical thinking and conflict resolution, resume writing, and interview skills, to name a few. We then match them to business and community leaders through two different programs – Priority Hiring Partners and Youth Leadership Jefferson County.
As the new Executive Director for JCBEA, it is my goal to expand our program into more high schools, deepen our Priority Hiring Partners participation, and continue to expand our programs to bridge the employment gaps in our community. As school starts, who do you know that can benefit from a JCBEA partnership? I welcome any and all referrals. If you would like to speak to me about how JCBEA can assist you, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 303-667-6236. To learn more about our programs, please visit us at www.jcbea.org.