Thursday, June 20, 2024

Johnson: Proactive approach needed to solve workforce issues

by BIZ Magazine

While unemployment is down but lots of job openings available, we have been asked many times – where are the workers?

While there are many schools of thought on why there are so many job openings right now, we are focusing on proactive approaches to recruitment.

We know many of our members have changed from the job fair format to hosting parties or dinners to entice talent to work for them. We think that’s a great idea – as it shows we are working to adjust to changing workforce trends.

But what more can be done?

A proactive response to workforce is the only way to get closer to solutions. Take Plain Dealing High School for example. Alumnus Warren Smith and fellow alumni hosted a career fair during homecoming week, garnering so much support for the car, the school was greatly overwhelmed, in the right ways.

But that’s not the only way Plain Dealing High is battling workforce issues. Shanna Malone, Plain Dealing Middle/High School Instructional Coach, asked the Bossier Chamber to partner on November 2 to host industry leaders to engage them in a key question: What do students need to do to be workforce ready upon graduation?

We love to see how proactive the Plain Dealing community is in addressing training their students for success. And, ahead of the opening of the Teal-Jones Group’s sawmill, the town is showing a great readiness to welcome the industry.

We know a handful of businesses are addressing workforce needs by utilizing the Department of Defense SkillBridge program: an opportunity for service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service, according to their website.

We know our exiting military members are valuable workers and we love that businesses like Metro Aviation, the Cyber Innovation Center and CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health are using the program to keep those airmen in our area.

Another business recently pitched an idea to incubate talent here locally, as graduates in their industry continue to shrink. We can’t wait to see that idea take off!

We want Bossier, and Northwest Louisiana, to be a place that people look toward as a place of innovation, growth and a high quality of life. Just know, that we are happy to assist in any ways that we can to continue to help grow the Northwest Louisiana economy so reach out if you have ideas you think we could partner on. 

Lisa Johnson is president/CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce

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