CareerSource Brevard team always ready to assist wide range of businesses

From: Brevard Business News, December 31, 2018, Page 13

By: Ken Datzman

ROCKLEDGE — Through the years, CareerSource Brevard’s Business Services’ team has been able to shift its stance fairly quickly and be responsive to the needs of employers and employees in varying economic conditions.

In 2011, for example, the unemployment rate in Brevard County was more than 11 percent. Today, it’s at 2.9 percent, which is considered full employment. “When you have a paradigm shift like that in the employment market, it’s huge,” said Judy Blanchard, vice president of industry relations at CareerSource Brevard, which is part of the statewide CareerSource Florida network.

“What’s important is having the ability at the local level to be able to have an ecosystem in place that supports a very comprehensive and strategically designed workforce transformational program.”

With the unemployment rate tight, area employers are scrambling to fill job openings as they expand, while at the same time be able to retain existing staff. Right now, there are too many job openings and not enough workers.

“There is great demand across all sectors, from information technology to manufacturing and construction, aerospace, retail, and hospitality,” said Jennifer Lasser, industry relations manager at CareerSource Brevard. “Our job is to understand the business climate of Brevard and be responsive to the skill–set needs of the workforce and the needs of the individual employers.”

She added, “There are about 14,000 established businesses in Brevard. We are a highly educated county. And we have a large veteran population. We serve small businesses. We serve large businesses. We serve entrepreneurs. Brevard has a very diverse economy, and that’s a great thing for the community.”

CareerSource Brevard has a team of business liaisons who work with all types of employers. There are specific members on the team who advocate for hiring veterans. “And we have a team of recruiters who work job orders and work one–on–one with employers to help post positions and to fill positions,” said Lasser.

With much of the nation enjoying full employment and jobs plentiful across many industries, the majority of employers at this time in the economic cycle do not have the upper hand in the workplace.

It’s the employees. And employers must embrace the employee–in–control marketplace if they want to reduce costly turnover in a time of strong economic growth, experts say.

Workplace turnover is fast on the rise in America, as employees have more career options today and can move about freely within most sectors of business and industry for jobs that better fit their preferences and expectations.

An estimated 42 million employees will have left their jobs by the end of 2018, according to the findings of a comprehensive national study conducted by Work Institute. The 2018 “Retention Report” study, “the only known one of its kind,” was based on more than 230,000 exit interviews.

Work Institute estimates that nearly 77 percent of that 42 million employee turnover number cited could have been prevented by employers. Roughly 40 percent of new employees left within 12 months of being hired.

“Retention is a huge issue right now for employers,” said Blanchard. “It’s costly to replace employees, especially key employees.”

Employers will pay $600 billion in turnover costs in 2018 and can expect that number to increase to $680 billion by 2020, according to Work Institute.

CareerSource Brevard offers a full slate of business services targeting various industries, from construction to manufacturing to aviation, health care, aerospace, transportation, and information technology, among others.

A program that focuses on the retention of workers is one of CareerSource Brevard’s many business services that are available to area employers.

“We have a toolkit on our website that provides tips and ideas and articles on keeping employee talent,” said Lasser. “We also have a turnover percentage and cost– calculation calculator on the site. It shows the real cost of employee turnover for a business or corporation or organization. Unfortunately, in a great employment market, employers face challenges, and employee retention is one of them.”

CareerSource Brevard offers onsite support including “Essential Soft Skills” training and the “Retention” toolkit that can provide solutions that have been found to be successful through the years working with businesses, as well as through research of articles, webinars, workforce experts , and white papers from professional organizations.

Their organization is vested in providing in–depth resources and services that assist Brevard County businesses. “CareerSource Brevard has a very robust Business Services Department that has been responsive to the needs of Brevard County in varying economic environments. We take a proactive approach serving the business community. Right now, with 2.9 percent unemployment there are more job openings than people available to fill them,” said Lasser.

One of the recruitment services CareerSource Brevard offers is the posting of job listings from employers and the matching of qualified candidates, referring them to the particular company.

“Also, as part of our recruitment work, we host a lot of job fairs year–round,” said Lasser. “On average, CareerSource Brevard hosts about 250 recruiting events — meaning one event for one business — and job fairs
throughout the year. Having three centers in the county (Titusville, Rockledge and Palm Bay), we are able to serve the entire Brevard business community.”

CareerSource Brevard, for example, recently hosted its annual Veterans Job Fair. More than 60 employers participated in the event and there were over 300 registered people in attendance.

A key program for CareerSource Brevard is “Quick Response Training.” The program gives employees the opportunity to receive customized, skills–based curriculum development and training. “Jobs of today are transforming quicker than ever,” said Blanchard. “And we have to be responsive to what’s happening in all aspects of supporting and developing the talent pipeline. How we accomplish a lot of that is through
our sector strategy work focusing on key industries that we know are driving the economic footprint in the region.”

She continued, “Today, it’s all about how fast can we equip the individuals with the skill sets that are needed by the employers. And, we have to plan for the future with the advancement and innovation in technology and robotics and artificial intelligence. For our business partners, it comes down to productivity, profit, and competitiveness.”

Blanchard said CareerSource Brevard works with its “partners in economic development, in education, and in government.”

Quick Response Training is recognized as an important contributor to Florida’s economic success. A Florida competitiveness study conducted by McCallum Sweeney Consulting noted “economic developers” across the state cited Quick Response Training as “the No. 1 program with the largest impact on their ability to win multi–state competitive projects.”

With the current low unemployment rate, CareerSource Brevard “is seeing a great need for up– skilling ‘incumbent’ workers. Upskilling is the constant learning of new skills and new competencies,” said Blanchard.

CareerSource Brevard’s “Incumbent Worker Training” program is able to effectively retain full–time employees and keep businesses competitive through advanced skills training. The program is structured to meet the individual company’s training objectives, she said. The Business Services team at CareerSource Brevard manages several customized training programs.

Recently, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that the state’s private–sector job growth continues to outpace the nation.

The latest Florida & Metro Forecast from the UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness predicts job growth will average 2.4 percent in 2019. As consistently strong payroll job creation has strengthened Florida’s labor
market, the state is projected to outpace the national economy by 0.6 percent in job growth through 2021, the report says.

According to a 2018 study by “U.S. News & World Report,” out of 125 cities around the nation the Sunshine State captured 11 of the “best places to live” in the United States. The highest–ranking Florida city on the annual list is Melbourne.

“That was a huge accolade for Brevard. We live in a very attractive county. We have come a long way in the last 10 years, and more and more people are discovering Brevard County,” said Lasser.


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