Talent is Made in Conroe
31 Aug 2021
More Is Made Here, Business News
Businesses across the country are part of a growing narrative of the challenges of filling open positions. Regardless of industry segment or size, employers are having an increasingly difficult time finding qualified persons for the roles they require to operate as desired.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally-adjusted civilian unemployment rate for July 2021 was 5.4%, down considerably from July 2020’s 10.2% but still higher than the 3.6% in July 2019. The BLS also reported a series high level of job openings, 10.1 million, on the last business day of June 2021. There are a number of contributing reasons, but one clear, significant factor is a mismatch in the skills individuals have compared to those required for open positions. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this discrepancy and has sped up the need to reshape the workforce. Remote work is not possible in many industry segments, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality. Increased reliance on technology or automation is quickly becoming more common.
With access to a 1.6 million workforce within 40 miles, Conroe is an excellent location for growing companies in need of talent. And with more than two million workers available in Houston’s Harris County directly south of us, finding skilled employees in Conroe will never be an issue for your business. In Conroe, Texas, Talent is Made Here!
The Conroe community recognizes it is an absolute necessity to develop the talent required to fill these positions. Many communities have local institutions able to facilitate that development and Conroe is no exception. For example, the Conroe Economic Development Council (CEDC) works closely with Lone Star College - Conroe Center on specialized training programs required for companies. Additionally, CEDC develops recruitment opportunities and strategies to help businesses locate necessary workers. The result is a robust, resilient talent pool for businesses throughout the Conroe area.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has a number of programs existing to increase the skill level of potential and existing employees. Apprenticeship programs offer a combination of on-the-job training with classroom instruction, giving potential employees the skills they need using a cost-effective method while providing some security to businesses that they will receive a qualified employee at the end of the program. And TWC's Skills Development Fund assists businesses and employees with training projects by connecting financing options with training providers.
While a two- or four-year degree is a necessary step for many career opportunities, high school students have long been told the only key to a successful future is a college education. However, many students graduating from a four-year college are experiencing a different financial picture. U.S. News & World Report indicated 2019 college graduates had more than $30,000 in debt on average that may take decades to pay off with interest.
Therefore, educating students on the possibilities for building a career without the requirement of a postsecondary education is essential. Careers in skilled trades offer students these possibilities. For example, the BLS reported the 2020 median annual pay for water and wastewater operators was at $49,090; industrial machinery mechanics at $54,920; lodging managers at $56,670; electricians at $56,900; and stationary engineers at $64,680 – all requiring a high school diploma or equivalent. In contrast, news correspondents were at $49,300, graphic designers at $53,380, clinical laboratory technicians at $54,180, and high school teachers at $62,870 – all requiring a Bachelor’s degree. The skilled trade careers come without the debt associated with the postsecondary education.
Beyond education, companies should market themselves as collaborators willing to work with students and other potential employees to find solutions that meet the needs of all. The question of finding skilled workers may simply be a matter of getting them in front of opportunities for which they are already qualified. An article by the The Wall Street Journal. highlighted the efforts of companies partnering with each other to match available workers for open jobs. It pointed to the efforts CVS Health Corporation put towards dedicated websites for hiring partners and displaced workers
In Conroe, companies like Workforce Solutions offer employer services to businesses looking to meet workforce needs by addressing human resource challenges and identifying industry skill sets needed. They also provide help with tax credits and incentives and assist with connections with local partners like the CEDC.
The solution for matching employer hiring needs with individuals seeking gainful employment is an equation resolved with collaborative strategies. The Conroe community and CEDC are dedicated to working together with individuals and employers to find those solutions. The resultant scenario of talented, skillful employees matched to the growing needs of local businesses will provide a thriving Conroe of which everyone can be proud to be a part!