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Businesses Identify Skill Gaps in Region

Employers across North Carolina are concerned about the quality of workers they are currently hiring.  A statewide skills survey conducted by Business Service Representatives from North Carolina's Workforce Development Boards and compiled by the Centralina Workforce Development Board revealed employers are generally satisfied with the quality of preparation provided by the state's community college system by noted several issues with the current and emerging workforce.

Some 65% of companies surveyed indicated they regularly reject applicants due to lack of skills and noted a lack of workers with good computer, customer service, and communication skills.  Skills in machining, welding and various health-related fields also rated as being in short supply now and in the future.  The survey included data from 335 companies who employ between 10-999 employees.  About 39% of the respondents were from manufacturing firms, followed by health care and community services at 11.3%.  All primary sectors of the business community were represented in the survey.

Survey questions were designed to determine if there was a statewide skills shortage and also document future skills needs.  Questions were also included to probe employers' assessment of new hires and issues surrounding the recruiting process.  Respondents noted on one open ended question that they are experiencing a general lack of work ethic among the emerging workforce, coupled with weak basic skills.

David Hollars, Centralina Workforce Development Board executive director, recently stated that "this survey demonstrates the importance of an adequately trained workforce and underscores the need for the Career Readiness Certification programs now underway at the community colleges and JobLink Career Centers in our region.  North Carolina must address the identified skills gaps now if our workforce is going to compete in the global economy."

Other findings noted in the survey were:

  • 63% of respondents indicated say they are willing to participate in a public forum designed to address specific workforce training issues.
  • 77.2% of employers use the local newspaper to recruit workers followed by word of mouth at 76%.
  • 33% of employers provide little or no training for their employees.
  • 46.2% of respondents realize there are skills shortage issues and are increasing efforts to retain their current workforce.

The Business Services Representatives responsible for deployment of the survey and data collection represent the 24 Workforce Development Boards who are responsible for workforce policy development and service delivery in North Carolina's 100 counties.  For more information on the Skills Gap Survey please contact Vail Carter at (704) 348-2710 or by email at vcarter@centralina.org.

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