Welcome to my personal blog. Writing is a passion. I post essays, observations, comments and thoughts. My blog will cover a wide range of topics, including economic development, technology, parenting, general observations, and relationships. Face it, sometimes you cannot get all your ideas and thoughts in 140 (or even 280) characters. Happy reading.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Hiring the Long Term Unemployed – A Possible Solution
Over the weekend, I ran across an
old Bloomberg Business Week article
about long term unemployed. It got me
thinking. In economic development, one
common goal is to create job opportunities for citizens. A somewhat new challenge is the long term
unemployed. So much has been written
about this and studies conducted, I suspect no one doubts the challenge.
Bloomberg Business Week posted an
article titled “Think the Long Term
Unemployed Have Lost Their Edge? Wrong”. The author, Harold Sirkin, disagrees that
long term unemployed (6+ months) skills deteriorate quickly and hence no longer
technologically able to work. The author
contends that technology does indeed advance, but not that rapidly. You can decide if he is right or not.
However, this is the most
interesting point of the article is the training example. As you will read, the
Chicago model, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, is one economic development
professionals should review and perhaps propose to local Workforce Investment
Boards, community colleges and other institutions. It will not work in all
cases, but should be in the arsenal of an existing business program.
The article offers a case study.
The company highlighted is Seaton. Seaton
is an outsourcing and recruiting company. The Seaton company executive team
wanted to hire 250 people. As part of
the program, Seaton HR department staff laid out the skills needed for the open
jobs. The Skills for Chicagoland’s
Future took those skill sets and trained potential employees. The average new
worker was unemployed for 18 months.
However, I prefer the United
Airlines case study, also highlighted on the Skills for Chicagoland’s Future website. This appears to me to be the classic case of
doing a great job for your client and getting asked again to take on a more
complex assignment. If you read the case study (link below) note the last
It might appear that the Skills for
Chicagoland’s Future is like other training programs. However, this one is
slightly different. From reading the annual report, it appears to me to be
funded by government agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations and the
private sector. In addition, a key goal is to help long term unemployed find
One more point to consider, the
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was recently reauthorized. The professional economic developers should
look at the language of the reauthorized law (Workforce Investment and
Opportunity Act) and see if the new WIOA helps or hurts an initiative like this. If it has a negative impact, then what
revisions could we suggest be included in future legislative amendments.