Director touts economic development
The director of the Montgomery County Commerce Department told the county planning commission Feb. 12 he hopes to help bring skills and counseling to 1,146 unemployed people in the county that will lead them on a path to gainful employment.
Director Brain Regli said he believes his team of 50 employees can make that happen, adding that the commerce department has two transactions that matter: people getting jobs and companies getting financing to hire people who need jobs.
“Ultimately all of our metrics and everything we’re going to talk about comes down to those two points,” he said. “Our goal is to combine labor, education and capitol in new and unique ways.”
According to Regli, Montgomery County has an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent. He said the challenge in pushing that number down is that the people who are unemployed now are no longer the casualties of massive layoffs.
“The high likelihood of these people, based on the statistics we see, will find jobs in the next six to 12 months,” Regli said.
He said the majority of unemployed people have some kind of barrier that keeps them from finding a steady job.
“They may be single mothers; they may be individuals whose children have disabilities; they may have disabilities themselves. These are the people we want to make productive members of society because ultimately if they are productive and they’re paying taxes and the businesses are using their productivity, our county improves,” Regli said.
Regli told members of the planning commission that the department of commerce has a variety of functions to help employers meet applicants.
“We have a group of people who do nothing but talk to companies every day and provide recruitment services to them,” Regli said.
The department will help reduce the cost of hiring for companies in Montgomery County, he said.
“How much money do you spend when you’re trying to hire a new person?” he asked. “At a minimum you’re spending at least $750 to put an ad on Monster, you’ve got your HR person, you got interviews.”
Regli said companies in Montgomery County can call the department of commerce for no charge, and companies can have counselors show them resumes for anybody who matches up to the skill sets the company is looking for. He said the department has math and cognitive ability scores on record for people who have submitted their resumes.
“We can tell you all of this information so you can make a reasonable decision as to whether or not you even want to interview this person,” Regli said.
He said all industries are welcome to go to him and ask for assistance free of charge.
“This is the starting point,” he said.
He said the members of the planning commission are helping to create jobs by approving certain zoning changes and making an investment in infrastructure.
His hope, he said, is to have contractors come to the planning commission and ask about good ways to hire in the county if they need to. Then they can direct any employers to Regli.
More information on the department of commerce can be found at www.montcopa.org.