From: Hometown News – August 2014
In July I had the privilege of hearing Lisa Rice, president of CareerSource Brevard, speak to a group of human resource professionals on the array of services offered to job seekers and employers.
The end of her presentation really caught my attention when she brought up the 12,000 unemployed people in Brevard and noted “skills gap” as the root of the problem.
Employers need new employees with the latest technology skills and they are in short supply. In particular, the trades are suffering from a lack of interest and the skills to do the job.
Brevard County, like all other counties throughout Florida and the United States, needs a broad spectrum of skilled and certified tradesmen to take the places of the retiring Boomers.
Lisa coined a new label – “Zoomers” – for the Boomers who aren’t retiring to a rocking chair on the porch. Rather, they are eating healthier foods, exercising, pursuing hobbies and planning to be the longest living and healthiest retirement population in history.
That said, while the Zoomers move into retirement, communities such as Brevard County need to replace them with qualified workers.
Brevard seems to be doing a good job attracting scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs who will drive the expansion of the privatized Space industries.
What about the plumbers, welders, electricians and other service workers who support all the elements of a productive community?
Training is the key and it can be had through CareerSource Brevard training and certification programs as well as through numerous trade schools.
Entry-level salaries in trade careers range from $10 to $13 and they grow with experience to levels that support a nice living. It’s definitely time for Mom, Dad and Junior to seriously assess Junior’s true aptitude and skills preference and drill down to find the most productive education and field of work.
The second area that Lisa addressed that caught my attention was diversity. It struck a note in me related to human resources training I’ve attended over the years usually titled “Diversity 101.”
The training sessions never captured what real diversity is all about. Real diversity in the marketplace of every community is about more than skin color, nationality, gender differences and educational degrees.
It has to do with building a workplace that includes and respects all the individuals who provide services and knowledge based on their passions, innate talents and aptitudes.
When we create such a diverse workforce through education, training and respect for the individual, we will see more jobs coming back from offshore. We will see more high school and college graduates obtaining meaningful employment.
My challenge is for everyone in Brevard County to get out there and re-tool, re-train, and re-educate yourself and the generation coming after you to provide what is necessary for the future. Maybe then we won’t see 12,000 unemployed and thousands of others under-employed. Our future depends on it.
Catherine M. Mallozzi, a certified senior professional in human resources, is director of Career Services at Everest University in Melbourne. She has more than 30 years of experience in the human resources field in the Space Coast community.
Mallozzi is also a CareerSource Brevard Workforce Champion.