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Filling Openings in Tight Labor Market Calls for Creativity and Extra Effort

Kenosha---Words of advice at an economics forum for employers who are stressing over unfilled job vacancies in the tight labor market: Qualified candidates are out there, but extra and more creative efforts may be required to reach them.

The comments came at Johnson Bank’s annual “State of the Region Economic Forum” held Wednesday at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha.

Froedtert South Executive Vice-President Susan Ventura was part of a panel discussion. She remembers when employee recruiting efforts were confined to periods that coincided with college graduations in December and May. "Now it's every single day," she said. 

Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht said employers may need to adopt new strategies. "If you're looking for employees--they're out there," said Albrecht, noting that Gateway alone will graduate 1,031 students next week. "You just have to know where they are and how to get to the front of the line to take advantage of that."

Employers, he said, should consider, if they haven't done so already, creating internships and apprenticeships; getting actively involved in the educational process; and offering signing bonuses, relocation expense reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, community service release time and a good working environment.

Albrecht held up Foxconn as an example of a company that works closely with Gateway and nurtures prospective employees while they're in school. "They're at Gateway every week. They know where the people are," Albrecht said. "And that's the kind of relationship we want to have with all of our employers."