Watch Now: Decatur Companies Have Help With Employee Quest | Local
DECATUR – Shane McDermith, from Shaner’s towing, took note of the different options available to his company during the Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Wednesdays at the Decatur Club.
Like many businesses across the country, McDermith said he has needed employees since before the pandemic.
“I can’t wait to have a life again,” he said. “We are the night shift and the day shift. “
The breakfast was an opportunity for companies to learn more about Labor investment solutions and other agencies capable of connecting employers with future employees.
Annamarie Dorr, Central Illinois Regional Workforce Development director, explained the resources available to businesses during one of their most difficult times.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act is a federally funded public workforce program to help employees prepare for high-quality jobs and employers to find skilled workers. “The aim is to support local and regional economies,” Dorr said.
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In collaboration with various government departments, Workforce Investments offers skilled and upgrading training, apprenticeships, support services such as childcare and transportation costs, as well as the necessary equipment or tools for the training.
“Once a person is enrolled in the WIOA program, we accompany them until they are in post,” said Dorr.
Throughout the training, Workforce Investments also strives to acquire job preparation skills, including interview preparation and workplace communication skills.
“Our goal is to help people become self-reliant and start a career,” Dorr said.
Rocki Wilkerson, Executive Director of Workforce Investment Solutions, works with local businesses and employees. She has participated in training in manufacturing, healthcare and logistics as well as many other careers. “We have tried to continue serving this community regardless of the pandemic,” Wilkerson said.
Changes and challenges are expected in the near future.
“It’s hard to come back and say ‘How can I retrain?’, ‘Where do I go?’, ‘What are the resources?’ Wilkerson said. “We’re here to help these people.
State Representative Sue Scherer sat among business owners and representatives at Wednesday’s breakfast, but was well aware of the benefits that Workforce Investments was able to provide to communities.
“Someone is still out of work,” she said. “The first thing I say is ‘Did you go to see them?’ Often they didn’t know what it was.
Workforce Investments connects employer and employee, while providing services for a successful transition. According to Scherer, Workforce Investments has resources through the use of the American Rescue Plan Act.
“They have the money to really give a lot of help right now,” she said. “You don’t have to go through it alone.”
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For his towing business, McDermith needs around 10 drivers and a second shift receptionist. “I had the phones every night,” he said. “It’s a whole different life in Decatur after midnight. “
Rick Price, Fuyao Glass Illinois’ vice president of human resources aims to hire about ten employees per week. He often partners with Workforce Investments to hire skilled workers. “It’s tough,” Price said. “People sign up, but they don’t show up.”
Fuyao used online interviews during the pandemic, with little success. He hopes that once the government ends the stimulus offer that extended unemployment benefits, he will meet serious candidates. In-person interviews and application opportunities, similar to a Fuyao event in January 2020 hosted by Workforce Investments, have proven to be beneficial for businesses. “It’s in person, talking to someone, showing them what you’re doing at the factory,” Price said.
Price thanks Workforce Investments for helping him find qualified employees. “It’s an untapped source that some companies don’t know about,” he said. “All you have to do is make the phone call, Workforce takes care of it from there. “
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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR