Due to the region’s low unemployment rates, skilled talent is practically irreplaceable these days. Luckily there are many community resources and programs to help area employers train their current employees and to increase the number of qualified job candidates in the talent pipeline. Mary Ann Rojas, director of workforce development for the City of Springfield, and Francine Pratt, director of Prosper Springfield, discuss how you, too, can boost your team’s skills.
Utilize Mentoring and Apprenticing
Employers can access mentorship resources and apprenticeship programs through the Missouri Job Center or Ozarks Technical Community College to provide employees with an opportunity to advance within their organizations. “Some of the employers are also having the Job Center conduct some of those workshops, to really find a creative pathway based on what the employer has the ability to do and giving other resources to help those employers,” Pratt says.
Change For Good
Change One Thousand, is a pre-employment training academy in Springfield that connects job seekers with long-term career opportunities. The academy, which has a goal of engaging 1,000 people by 2021, graduated its first class of 25 people in March. So far, at least 10 graduates have been hired by local companies. Rojas says the program aims to develop soft skills vital to employers in terms of their investment in a person—be it by bringing them in for a job or providing training. Soft skills, such as interpersonal communication, time management and problem-solving, are important areas in the workforce, but Change One Thousand also collaborates with employers to make sure the curriculum addresses industry-specific skills, Rojas says. Profit and productivity, workplace safety, being proactive and participating in group projects are covered. “It’s really a comprehensive curriculum, yet it’s delivered in a way that is very concise, meaningful and very interactive,” Rojas says.