Chamber eyes lack of workers
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.