Cham­ber eyes lack of work­ers

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Paul Post ppost@dig­i­tal­first­ @paul­v­post on Twit­ter

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » Many busi­nesses, from man­u­fac­tur­ing firms to ho­tels and restau­rants, are strug­gling to find qual­i­fied work­ers in to­day’s ex­tremely tight la­bor mar­ket.

With re­gard to the work­force, Saratoga County’s eco­nomic pros­per­ity is a vic­tim of its own suc­cess. New jobs are out­pac­ing pop­u­la­tion growth, which is in­creas­ing at the rate of 1 per­cent an­nu­ally, so many busi­nesses are short-staffed.

“It’s an is­sue and we’re try­ing to come up with cre­ative ways for em­ploy­ers to find work­ers,” said Todd Shimkus, Saratoga County Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent.

Re­cently, the cham­ber has launched two sep­a­rate ini­tia­tives.

One is a dig­i­tal ad cam­paign for the Job Zone sec­tion of the cham­ber’s web­site.

“It’s a free ser­vice where em­ploy­ers can post job list­ings,” Shimkus said. “It tar­gets sur­round­ing coun­ties within driv­ing dis­tance of Saratoga County. Job Zone av­er­ages 20,000 unique views per month. It’s gone even higher since the ad cam­paign be­gan.”

The ser­vice al­lows em­ploy­ers and re­cruiters to re­view re­sumes that job-seek­ers have posted on­line.

Job Zone also helps non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions by con­nect­ing them with prospec­tive vol­un­teers.

In a sep­a­rate ini­tia­tive, the cham­ber re­cently tested out the con­cept of a re­verse job fair.

“Em­ploy­ers were on the other side of the ta­ble,” Shimkus said. “In­stead of a job fair, where peo­ple see what’s avail­able, em­ploy­ers came to in­ter­view clients of three dif­fer­ent agen­cies — Saratoga Bridges, AIM Ser­vices Inc. and Un­lim­ited Po­ten­tial. All three peo­ple that Saratoga Bridges brought in for in­ter­views ended up with jobs. Busi­nesses could also re­view re­sumes of other clients from each agency.”

Fif­teen lo­cal em­ploy­ers took part in the event in­clud­ing Saratoga Hil­ton, Adirondack Trust, Glob­alFoundries, The Wes­ley Com­mu­nity and mul­ti­ple restau­rants.

Em­ploy­ers could eval­u­ate the skill sets of clients from each agency to see if there was a match for the jobs firms have avail­able. Busi­nesses also learned about the on­go­ing sup­port each agency gives clients, af­ter they’ve found jobs.

Plans call for an­other, larger re­verse job fair in April or May.

“We’re look­ing for other agen­cies that have clients, to ex­pand the pro­gram,” Shimkus said.

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