The U.S. Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics press release on July 5th stated the unemployment rate for June was unchanged, at 7.6%, which equates to over 11 million unemployed workers.  Why?

The answer, according to many small business owners, is a lack of skilled workers.  Many business owners say their companies routinely turn down work because they don’t want to risk their reputation due to a lack of qualified support staff.  This shortage is not limited to one industry; manufacturing, high tech and service companies all are struggling to fill the void.

Economists are beginning to point to training as a means to correct the situation. Many agree that if companies take the following steps, success will follow;

  • Create a formal mentoring and training program to prepare workers already employed to assume more complex roles.
  • Create a rotating job system to allow employees to become versed in more than one skill.
  • Partner with colleges and trade schools to provide internship opportunities to create a path to future permanent employment.

The investment of time required to build and implement an appropriate training and mentoring program may seem daunting but many have found that taking that time has yielded tremendous results for the long term success of their companies.  It is something to think about.

One final thought, while training is important, the workplace environment is even more important.  Listen to your employees and create an environment where they feel connected and appreciated.  Without that component, the rest is moot.