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Marshall County Pilot Program Prepares for Employment

Monday, March 20, 2017

A new pilot program being developed in Marshall County seeks to address skilled workforce shortages via a three-pronged approach that may scale up for other economic development organizations in the future.

While a low unemployment rate is a good thing, it creates another problem; if everyone is working, that means there aren’t many available workers to fill open positions at companies. With a 3.4 percent unemployment rate, Marshall County is facing this predicament now, leading the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) to partner with the Northern Indiana Workforce Board to find a solution.

During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, MCEDC President and CEO Jerry Chavez explained that the new program would begin with one-on-one interviews with area businesses to assess local-level issues, such as skill set needs and whether or not they are able to get enough applicants. Along with other efforts, this information will be used as a starting point towards developing a specific strategy to deal with the uncovered issues.

According to Chavez, the MCEDC sees three areas in can help with:

  1. Work with high schools to develop career-ready programs and internship/apprenticeship access to ensure that young people have the skills they need when they are old enough to join the work force. This area is the long-term part of the solution.
  2. Work with existing employers to identify and improve skill sets and training of existing workers, allowing for career advancement. This will be a more immediate part of the solution.
  3. Recruit new workers to the area to fill available jobs.

“We need to find new faces,” Chavez said. “People that are looking to relocate to a county that offers good wages, low cost of living and has great career choices going forward.” If the program proves successful, Chavez says the MCEDC would be interested in making their strategy available for other economic development groups statewide to use in their own territories.

Jerry Chavez, President & CEO

Marshall County Economic Development Corporation