HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Wichita State University and WorkforceOne offered a chance for local business leaders to share their feelings about the workforce in Hutchinson. It was part of a statewide listening tour hosted by WSU. “One of the things we’re doing is trying to gather information from employers to find out their experiences, what their strategies are for recruiting job seekers,” Alisson Stewart, Operations Director for WorkforceOne said. “It’s also to share some of the information that we have been finding from job seekers.”
Some of the things that came to light during the meeting included barriers seen by both employers and employees. That included transportation, wages and nicer, affordable housing. It also included finding employees who wanted to work and who could stay on the job. Employers say the low unemployment rate allows employees to jump from job to job with little consequence.
Another factor discussed was the disconnect between schools and local business and industry. That was a major topic of discussion between the Chamber, school district counselors and industry leaders at a forum a little over a year ago. Stewart says those issues are being addressed. “We are seeing some improvement there and more collaboration between education and workforce,” Stewart said. “A lot of the different initiatives that are going on in education and workforce programs. I think we will see some significant changes in that.”
WorkforceOne has been holding job fairs and other events in the area to help business and industry recruit new employees. Stewart says they hope to see improvement in the workforce soon. “It’s more challenging for employers to fill their positions, so what we try to do is work with them and be creative and reach out to anybody who wants to work.”
Wichita State will compile all of the information from the listening tour and then provide its findings on the study after that.