Survey shows uptick in hiring
"I think it is good news," said Marilyn Putz, manager of the Walworth County Job Center.
A hitch in the hiring trend is that 28 of the 82 employers said they were having difficulty finding job seekers with proper qualifications.
In addition, more than 60 percent in the survey indicated job seekers often lack basic work habits and skills, drive and experience.
Just months ago, the job market in Walworth County was flat, Putz said.
Indicators of job availability came in both anecdotal comments from job seekers landing interviews and from state unemployment figures. Unemployment rates fell from 11.4 percent in February 2010 to 9.5 percent last February, she said.
"What's hopeful is that the forecast for workers will continue to the end of 2011," she said. "It doesn't appear to be a short-term trend."
Positions most frequently mentioned included professional/technical employees, machine operators and repairers, computer numerically controlled operators, administrative and office employees, supervisory/management employees and engineers.
The survey was administered by the Walworth County Workforce Development Board and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance.
The ability to quickly match a workforce to the needs of a manufacture is what ultimately lures firms to an area, said Mike Van Den Bosch, executive director for the Economic Development Alliance.
The alliance is a 6-year-old public-private partnership. It's the marketing arm that convinces businesses to move to Walworth County.
"It generally comes down to the availability of a workforce," Van Den Bosch said. "Incentives (from government) and (lower) taxes only go so far."
Putz said the agencies would closely examine the surveys and contact responding companies to determine what specific skills they will need in workers.
Workforce development will then try to identify the unemployed who have skills that fill employers' needs, she said.
The next step will be to identify people who likely can be trained to fill job openings, she said. Partnerships to build training programs likely will be created, she said.
Gateway Technical College will be central to putting the training, Van Den Bosch said.
It's likely that training will be done at worksites with the assistance of Gateway, he said.
A Gateway spokesperson was unavailable.
"We're working on our way to doing that effectively," he said. "Gateway does that in Racine in Kenosha. We're still trying to develop that relationship."