A recent survey by the City of Springfield’s Center for Workforce Development sheds light on things like hiring trends and employer needs in the area. The companies questioned in the State of the Workforce Survey represented a variety of industries and seven counties in the Ozarks.
"To really understand what their needs are, how they view the workforce, how they view, you know, the workforce system and if it's working and producing qualified workers for their industry," said Mary Ann Rojas, the City of Springfield's director of Workforce Development.
Some interesting findings: 72 percent of respondents said they’d had trouble filling positions in the previous 12 months. Rojas said a key aspect of the latest survey is the positive hiring trend outlook.
"Employers are still looking to actively hire people and plan to expand over the next three to five years," Rojas said.
Another finding from this year's State of the Workforce Survey: employers said some of those they hire need improvement in soft skills.
"Those skills that are inherent, you know, in the individual...learning how to communicate, working, you know, well with others and...being part of a team. Also, work ethic--understanding the value of work," Rojas said.
The majority of respondents said they aren’t currently partnering with high schools or colleges to help students acquire the skills necessary to succeed in their industry. Some did say, however, they would be interested in doing so.
Rojas said programs like GoCaps, offered through the Springfield Public Schools District and which allows students to test drive careers, are key to making sure young people are ready for the workforce.
Results from the 2017 State of the Workforce Survey are based on 576 completed online surveys of business, nonprofit organizations, government and educational institutions in Greene, Taney, Christian, Webster, Polk, Dallas and Stone Counties.
View survey results here.