SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Local employers are having a hard time finding qualified workers. Companies say it’s not the experience, but motivation and commitment that applicants are lacking.
The Missouri Career Center is working on a training program designed to help a thousand people over the next three years. Participants will learn pre-employment training credentials, or soft skills like communication and leadership, which are some of the biggest concerns for employers.
“Employers have jobs, plenty of opportunities out there,” said Mary Ann Rojas, Director of Workforce Development at Missouri Career Center. “But we still have a problem with our workforce having the skills they need to get those good jobs.”
And those skills have nothing to do with experience, according to Rojas.
“Learning the concepts of work, why it’s important to value work, to show up on time,” she said.
Anthony Willis, Coordinator of Recruitment and Employment Retainment at Multi-Craft Contractors, a stainless steel company, says it’s those basic skills many applicants are lacking.
“And I don’t think this is a new problem,” Willis said.
Willis says companies are willing to invest in workers with on the job training, but first people need to show up.
“Motivation to come to work and stay at work,” he said. “If we have someone who is motivated, we can teach them how to do it.”
The Missouri Career Center is hoping to prepare the workforce by offering a five-week, free training program for 30 individuals at a time. The first group starts Feb. 8th. The program is called Change One Thousand Skills Academy.
“It is a pilot project,” Rojas said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Springfield is at 2.7 percent.
The Skills Academy targets Springfield’s Zone 1 which has the city’s lowest income and highest unemployment rate.
“Over 30 percent of people who are unemployed live in that zone,” Rojas said.
But Rojas says anyone looking for a first, or new job, is welcome to apply.
The Job Center will help participants with resume writing and help arrange child care and transportation or any other barriers so they’re prepared to connect with employers once they complete this training.
You can apply the Skills Academy at job center locations or libraries in Springfield or online at ChangeOneThousand.Org