ISSUES 2018 03/11/18

Steve McIntosh
Thursday, March 8th
Keith Lawing, President & CEO, Workforce alliance of South Central Kansas, discusses managing federal job-training dollars across 10 Kansas counties

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is issued 2018 actually Macintosh and our guest is key clawing president and CEO workforce alliance of south central Kansas. Good to have you let's again well thank you Steve happy to be here did a while but don't welcome to issue twenty team all she did describe the workforce alliance sure happy to do so we are. The local workforce development board. We have. The board complex system of business leaders and community leaders from throughout the current community. And what we do is we managed. Federal job training dollars that come into this region. So we tried to apply those dollars to. The key industry sectors such as aviation and health care. And we work to connect people get them into this training programs that we're working business and industry. And help them on board and hire those skilled workers that are here in our community the wind was a workforce alliance created. Back in 2000 so we've been around for awhile now. And like I said would we are primarily funded through a federal. Law but the board along time ago wanted to have more community impact in that so. We do more than probably most workforce works in the country. And strive to have a real significant immunity impact that we've been around for like eighteen years now held in her duties as served six counties. That is the actual defined. Area that the federal dollars come from but actually we go a little bit beyond that. The counties are harper and Kingman Sumner Cali Butler and such wake. But Harvey counties in our area so Serena count. So if an individual or business was located there won't they would get services. You know labor markets and economies don't respect traditional political boundaries so you know people live and work all over this region so. We we worked the entire ten county area do you have a mission statement. Apartment. Let resemble. Briseno you're able to memorize yes indeed that. Now how many people do you think usage in a year. We have. 34. Offices excuse me that one in which tiger 21 an am again. We seven office and old Laredo Winfield and Wellington and a we have basically at least 50000 people come through our doors and an annual basis. Now that does not count the people who get us through the Internet. Who might hear about a job fair were host dean. Just because of something we're doing for social media so I mean 50000 to me is a light number I think we probably touch and serve more individuals than that in an annual basis or. It's a variety of folks I mean you know a lot of you know people if you're receiving unemployment insurance you're one of our customers GA you know if you're looking for a job you're getting benefits you need to come siesta that's part of our population right there. But. We we also serve people and we see people on our audit and are. Locations all the time who have jobs they're looking for better jobs one of the things we did last year's weeks and are operating now or so instead of being open from eight to five. Were open from 7 AM to 6 PM and are Wichita office. And our traffic counts between seven and eight are off the charts. Because people are coming in and to look for a better job before they go to their existing job that's the kind of economy we have now. The economy's red hot. We have business needs throughout all of our industry sector for skilled workers. And if you are looking for a better job Republican for job it's always easier to find one when you have a job. So a lot of our audience are people again or thirty employed. But we do see a lot of those folks who were between jobs and looking to get back in the workforce Keith do you charge fees for years shoes known no and I don't wanna say there free because they are federally funded or taxpayer dollars pay for those. But if you or a job seeker and your coming in that you need to go one over workshops to update your computer skills or get some job search assistance. That is no cost to the individual. And on the other side of that if your business and we can help you post jobs we can help screen your applicants. So instead of looking 300 Reza made 300 applications to find five people you want we can do that front and for you and make them more efficient. And again that is no direct charge that employer. So this did pause for just a minute and interject something here election that was. That being just before I started my current second broadcast career I was unemployed for nine months or six months in 1997. You guys were around no actually we were not around men and that that Josh Johnson now I think I could futures service is good for probably could have my game and her an a for example of one company's. Are doing layoffs and there was just one recently. Down in and derby -- Wal-Mart distribution center Kmart is announced it's pulling out we have just a team a rapid response team Stephen we will go win their we will meet with those affected employees and the goal is to get them back in the workforce as quickly as possible. For some folks that really is a matter of just helping them find a job opportunity with others it actually getting them in training and and the or slot degree training program short term training programs. Did you the skills employers are looking for and then that's gonna X but I your ability get back in the workforce you eat the local and state and employment rates are low around 4% to will always. We should that's full employment. Why should we be concerned about the 4% of can't find work. Well you wanna because they're probably think they're just is the deadbeats and got to get it. It's a mix of that I mean let's be honest you know and and and I see there there's a certain amount of personal responsibility that you need to take upon yourself to be good employee. And and you know some people just aren't gonna do that some people are traditional. Or over just job hoppers and are gonna work a little while and get fired or quit and get back in the workforce that that that is always gonna existing. And labor market. And it's not so much your concern with those folks is when that 4% there's always going to be people who were are very ambitious and wanna find a job to circumstances of place them there short term they're gonna get out of that. What what concerns me overall with an unemployment rate that low. Is. How this is gonna impact business and industry that needs to grow and expand and if there isn't. Anything. All fight pool were first to draw upon. Or our population is limited. That is really gonna start impacting our ability to grow our business and industry here in south central Kansas but the State's educational institutions doing an adequate job in preparing people to enter the workforce. Yeah I think for the most part they are. You. What what's really happened I think in the last three or four years at Wichita State University. Is is is really indicative of how education systems need to. Modify themselves into the 21 century. You look at what doctor bardo is talked about in applied learning models the idea that business and industry has a greater expectation for those new workers. A younger workers are transition workers you need to be productive. You need to be updated on skill sets technology you have to master technology to Lerner technology. And then what Wichita State has been done has really extended its relationship down with this affiliation with the technical college. Creating a career map occur pathways. If you didn't think you're going to college out of high school you can get a certificate you get a credential. That is still post secondary credit. You may not get your bachelor's curators 3035 years old but that entire fifteen years since high school you were working in some job at the same time increasing your skill set. That's were education and training I think need to go and Wichita State's reached out to Butler community college and howling and hutch Community Colleges so they're creating these two plus two models. That is where we need to be looking out right now because again like you talked about Steve when he relayed off. You were fairly mature worker he'd been in the workforce for why you needed updates and skills to get back in the workforce. And this is where community technical colleges can really be a service to us here in this region don't you work with the schools and assessing needs and direction you were students yeah definitely we we across the board I mean in fact I I meet with fall of the leadership that our our local community airy Community Colleges. Talk about the training programs that they have that are looking now we give them labor market information so they understand what business and industry are doing how they're growing the world so pushing that down in the secondary level and we relationships with our school district certainly 259. I applaud doctor Thompson I think she's done a great job here in the Wichita school districts since she's been at the Helm. And and also working with the school districts throughout the region and I god heard. You know shut out just in Henry's agreed superintendent here in this area. But but all the school districts are really starting to understand. That they need to focus on. Career readiness as much as college readiness and they're not to separate pieces. And so that's been another thing that I've seen in the last you know 45 years. Really are secondary systems. Getting in line what with the 21 century job market. You're listening to issues Tony eighteen on the intercom ready decisions that I guess is Keith law and president and CEO workforce alliance of south central Kansas. Tell us a little bit he's not your relationship with employee errors. It it's really our primary focus. When the board looks at what our responsibilities are managing job training dollars they decided along time ago that the employer was the primary customer. Not to discount the job seeker but if we do not have a good relationship with employers. With the business community and really understand their needs when it comes to employment and skills we then are not going to do a good job of helping that job seeker that student. So we have a dedicated staff that we break them down by industry so we have somebody dedicated to working with employers and health care industry. But the trade construction manufacturing. We work with some and we we communicate to them on an ongoing basis we help them again and they're hiring processes weather's just a simple job posting screen mean that we host job fairs for employers are location. We tried to be. And extension of their HR offices by working through us. And our goal is to really increase the retention rates and cut down their turn over rates. And so a quick example you know obviously were but he steered a lot about spear of systems and their need for. A more a thousand more workers over the next year or so. Well we had a partnership that goes back was spirit for a long time and understanding now so even before the news was announced last year we have programs in place as we saw that coming. We saw their expansion of the workforce needs we saw the fact that a lot of other workers that there existing workforce is climbing close to retirement. So we'd set up some training programs. With them that were really customize to they're need. And it's working well I mean we've we have we've probably train well over 150 people. And and colonel or model spear hires them. They provide the training on cited the plant and then they on board these people and distribute them in their production facility where they need them. But we're also working with companies like Cox machine and next LT ovens. It is that relationship piece of it. As that really understanding what that employers looking for in a skilled worker and a job applicant. Then we take that to the folks coming in those 50000 people coming at our building. And we help. Broker that that connection there. What is he into your specific set of skills most in demand right now. You know it's the technology days days in and it adds so ubiquitous this day. But within any industry. Across the board. It has been base knowledge about computer technology about the Internet about getting on line I mean. That that that that it's just it's it's an entry point that everybody has got to hat. And I've been doing this long enough I can remember people coming into our offices. Really not knowing how to navigate the Internet which is a challenge because most employers are putting job openings are job applications on line. It's not the old imminent credible venture resume is a moment ago knock on some doors. That models changed it's still the basic concept that we're doing it digital electronically now. And then. Beyond that and into the higher level it's really understanding the what we call the stem technology science technology engineering and math skills sets. We have to have a stronger basis and mathematics and science and computer technology. For for stooge certainly students in high school and college. But even if you're 35 years old news you know wanna continue to have your jobs. Mastering technology is gonna give you more job security than anything else I can think at least this is important adult lose it if you're seeking a job to go talk to somebody face to face oh yeah definitely and and I don't mean to downplay you know the kind of the old school methodology. But communication skills or another piece of it too you know we all I don't know how many times and sit at a stoplight outlook next to me persons in their face in the phone or walking down the street we do that instinctively I'm guilty of it as well. But. That we cannot forget how important face to face communication is looking somebody in the and I am a firm handshake. You know those are our other communication skills. That should not be lost in this whole error of digital technology and things that are just as important if not more important than ever. Today's young people. Different from past generations when it comes to attitudes about working. Now I mean it and I think that. That the simple I think it'll say yes let's say I I I I you know but but I I read power because I hear employers talk a lot of times -- talk about the soft skills these kids today in they don't show up for work on to diamond. You know they don't know how to work in teams and I communicate what I read. Peace misses a awhile back the simpler complaining. And at the end of the complaint the question was when do you think this was written. It was written in 1971. OK I mean and so some of the issues are a little bit different I mean again we didn't have cell phones when I was grown up enough FaceBook. You know those other distractions. But. There is always the feeling that the generation coming up behind us. Isn't quite where they need to be just yeah yeah you know. It's not the same time what I suggest is really look at the strength that they generations bringing us again that this intuitive knowledge of technology. I mean you know I got a fifteen year old grandson you know the idea that he can even conceive of that telephone with the court on it that was attached to the wall. I mean he doesn't get that you know and and when you ask him some information he whips up that phone can give you some facts and in no time at all. And those are things that we need to I think so liberate and help bring into our workforce and understand this generation's gonna have some skills that we know it's taken us a long time the mastery they never get. Would you keep you mentioned and his spirit aviation. Which does largest employer looking at a thousand jobs over the next few months. Let's go to the biggest challenge. In finding that yeah. A couple things. The spirit is going to BO OK you know spirit is gonna find those thousand workers there at the top dog on the food chain so to speak when it comes to employment opportunities. And they have good jobs great benefits. A market forecast. That is gonna keep a lot of people employed for a long time so we wanna do everything we can choose to support spirit in this community. The employers that I work look at in the challenges IC art disease so much. And other companies so it's going to be companies. Because if you're working at a company let's say and I heard this or minute call them out a little bit but Johnson Controls making a decent wage and you got a chance to go work its spirit make a few dollars more in our. You're gonna make that job and people are 21 act. People see the opportunities and you can't blame them if you're working index LT ovens or you work in that. You know I heating and air conditioning company that. You know spirit seizure work skill and sees what you can bring in they want to hire you so Mike challenges going to be how we help those other companies how do we help those smaller to medium size employers. Continue to prosper and grow. Is that where the challenge is going to be for this community. Spear and Textron the larger companies. They will get their workers. But how do we keep those other companies are community. Released strong and thrive meaning and that's where I think that we we need to expand our population so I mean frankly. Would there was I saw a study the other day at Wichita State did that. We have about as many people moving out as moving man we're about as many people dying Indian born in our communities were population stayed about even. Somehow we need to get people to move into or communities and this is through the entire. South central Kansas region. Because I think we need to grow or community to help our business and industry striving and get stronger that is somebody the other day and it tonight considered an expert on this tendency we just know them a particular. Yeah we don't. And I mean you know and I know I've heard people complaint along to finally have a Cheesecake Factory here in town well guess what if we at a growing population of private Cheesecake Factory because we got a lot of business and industry hiring people. And there'd be a lot of wealth stimulate and in this economy right now so we are you one of the things that I mentioned with the plastic earlier what I think they've done that's really innovative and creative. Is offering in state tuition along this I 35 quarter going down to Oklahoma even the Dallas metro area and for students who would decide to enroll in Wichita state university for him in state tuition. We should take that a step forever. Mr. an advertisement we got jobs in which we got jobs in south central Kansas have you lived in Dallas and you hate that commute or that crowded air you live in and you want to have it new environment and a better place to live from the Wichita. I mean we need to be taken advantage of those kind of opportunity India. The recession of 2000 that he had a huge impact on our local economy. Have we fully recovered from that. I think it be for the most part yes. We are seen in a totally different dynamic and I would much rather be working this and that challenge. Where we have way too many job openings and not enough people and way too many people are not enough job openings so we've recovered in that sense definitely. Where her. We haven't quite recovery is we did lose a lot of talent. We had individuals. That decided to move on to other communities to Oklahoma City and be on. To look for better employment opportunities. And we have not fully recovered there and this goes back to my whole issue about the population base. I think a lot of people if you're eighteen or nineteen or just maybe graduated from Wichita straighter for Andrew Newman your thinking I got a better opportunity elsewhere. That's the dynamic we got to change there are great opportunities here in south central Kansas we need to keep those talented. It's more young people in our communities that's the part we probably haven't recovered from a mind. So one happens. When that baby boomers get serious about retire most of us aren't yet. I have done most of his mania is yeah now IA and again this goes to the whole issue population. Demographics I mean. You know because frankly. And several companies is not just prevent the company is looking at the workforce and recognizing the fact that within five certainly ten years. A lot of other season and quality workforce is going to be gone and and how how many people do we have. And what is the pool to draw upon is just because you've got a certain population does not mean you're gonna have that dynamic of the skill set that you need. So that's where I think this community's really going to be feeling a pinch when it comes to workforce of labor. If we do not core population. At a pace that is going to at least provide employers. A growing pool of job applicants instead of shrinking want to watch what's all of us baby boomers decide yet. Head down to Florida or rumba or Arizona or wherever ago. What was your first job. Hi my first real job or a time clock was at the Safeway at Douglas and hillside which is now what Dylan's and I I Bagger rusher is and it was one of the best experiences I had. I learned what 16100 meant. Animate for clock and make you better be at work at 4 o'clock and that's Richard Clark wanted so everybody did I'm sure you did. And older. Person man or woman who he looked instant intellectually and that's what you do. Ilia chipped it definitely definitely there there there it. And that goes back to and one of the initiatives that were really pushing right now and you kind of gave me nice segue there is this whole idea that youth employment. Because I learned certain values and principles about having a job responsibility because I had age. You know and and I had mentors I had people like that look too. In fact one of those individuals. Now him and his Brothers distorted moving company. And very prosperous moving company and it's been in business for over thirty years and I seemed on table rock lake every once in awhile and here we were couple kids working at Safeway. You know he was a few years older than me. So I I was able to role model that out that employment opportunities for young people have been diminishing over the years. And so fewer and fewer teens have a job opportunities are not working at that Safeway store because guess what that Dylan's now has self check. Yeah yeah now and in the bag that you don't yet AT and you don't have to go see teller anymore. Nobody throws newspapers and are very few people I mean you know I rather doubt throws our newspaper she drives a car because very few homes take the newspaper so those are urged to employment opportunities teenagers that. Stories employment program really tries to fund helping teens who are working with school districts were from businesses. We are trying to find jobs for teenagers sixteen to nineteen year old so they can war and about those soft skills and personal responsibility and learn how to handle a paycheck. A debit card open a bank account those are skills that if were not deliberate about them. We we we have a false expectation with an eighteen or nine channel and we expect them to have the skills that they are not able to. Gain on the around without some kind of delivered intervention from my perspective is an older you better be ready to deal with change. And you'd better be ready to learn or you're not in survive. And that's just the reality that that really is a lot of folks you know we got locked into r.'s business cycles here where maybe you worked its us and or or or Learjet or borrowing you've got laid off that you won back to work and you know it all is good you can. That's just a different cycle it's changed it's not gonna be like that anymore aren't they listen thanks for spending some time goes by faster business. It does I appreciate and happy to come chat with you any time all right. To serve our guest is keep clawing and that he is president and CEO workforce alliance of south central Kansas. And they just about have anything you would know about employment and that's all for this edition of issues 2018 thanks keep him being was again. We'll be back next week thank you for listening I'm Steve Macintosh.