It’s the end of the fourth quarter, the score is 7-10 to the opposition. Team Stark County makes a drive down the center and lands at the 10-yard line – set to make the touchdown and take the win! But NO! The game, riddled with rough play and injuries, claims another player, and our team has nobody left in reserves. What could have been is lost due to the shortage. The opposition pushes us back, and the clock runs out.
The Shortage Challenge
In Stark County, and across the country, the workforce landscape is much like a close football game. Many employers feel as though they are short on players and time as they navigate the formidable demands of business –whether that be manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, distribution and logistics, IT, or a plethora of other sectors.
The Future of Work Full Report (August 2023) provides the latest stats on the workforce landscape of Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. The top three causes of these shortages are an aging workforce, a lack of young people entering the workforce, and decreasing competitiveness resulting from slow adoption of technology. With two of the top reasons centering on shortfalls in workers, area employers must run interference to regain the home field advantage.
What can employers do about the sparse numbers of millennials and the retirement risk exacerbating these issues? The Future of Work Survey (included in full report linked above) conducted this spring found that “Eighty-one percent of respondents indicated they would be interested in starting a relationship with an educational institution, mostly with high school and college-level students.”
The Long-Term Response
For the past year, Stark Education Partnership (SEP) has responded directly to workforce shortfalls. SEP assists area employers in forging relationships with schools1 that allow the businesses to connect with students who will be the “blitz” players in the development of their long-term workforce. With over 40 Stark County employers and community organizations engaging students in career-connected learning (CCL) through our Stark Career Pathway Initiative, Stark County is a leader in CCL.