NNorthern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn was the featured speaker at the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce’s Breakfast Speakers Series on May 7 and he shared good news and bad news about the labor market.
The good news is that, as of May 3 of this year, the unemployment rate had fallen to 3.6 percent, the lowest since 1969. The bad news is that there are more job openings than people looking for work (6.3 million vs 6.9 million), a challenge for area employers who need employees.
Glenn asked the audience of 70-plus local employers to share their “hiring and talent development headaches” and the responses ranged from the need for specific skills, including culinary and machining, to the importance of finding “inspired learners, people who want to advance and make a contribution.”
Their responses support a survey, which Glenn shared, indicating that employers are concerned about recruiting, retaining and developing talent.
Glenn invited local employers to work closely with Northern Essex to address these priorities.
Northern Essex has over 60 academic programs from business to computer science to engineering, and companies interested in recruiting talent are encouraged to tap into the college’s pool of students and alumni.
The college is hosting a Networking Night on May 16 for graduating students, and Glenn invited everyone to attend. He also encouraged employers to post jobs and internship opportunities on NECClink, the college’s free job posting service.
To help employers retain and develop talent, Northern Essex offers customized training and credit and noncredit professional development courses, covering business and computer skills, as well as occupational training in advanced manufacturing, certified nursing assistant, CPR, and more.
The Mass Workforce Training Fund, which provides grants for workforce training, is an excellent opportunity for local employers to secure state funding for employee training, said Glenn. “Northern Essex will work with you to write a grant and build a curriculum that is specific to your needs.” Recent grants have included Pentucket Bank ($146,000); Bradford & Bigelow ($247,000); United Electric Control ($203,000); Multigrain Breads ($198,000); 3M Touch Systems ($73,000); and Jackson Lumber ($47,000).
To learn more about opportunities to grow your workforce, contact Kathryn Ronaldson, program manager, Center for Corporate Corporate & Community Education, 978 556-3066 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley Moore, director of academic, career & civic engagement, email@example.com, 978 556-3946.