Photo credit: Dennis Nett
Another article from Syracuse.com‘s “The Cost of Poverty” further explores the gaps between job seeker and job opening. Marnie Eisenstadt interviews Kim Townsend, CEO of Loretto, to discuss her experience collaborating with Work Train, a platform that grew out of several workforce initiatives piloted on the Northside: Green Train and Health Train. The platform is housed within CenterState CEO, guided by a Collaborative of funders and workforce stakeholders and lead by Dominic Robinson, Vice President of Economic Inclusion & Director of Northside UP.
“Kim Townsend had a problem. Actually, she had 100 of them.
Townsend, the CEO of Loretto , needed to fill 100 certified nursing assistant jobs at Loretto’s Cottages in Cicero in a hurry.
“We had a staffing and recruiting crisis,” Townsend said.
With a workforce of 2,500 people, the health-care company knew how to recruit, screen applicants and fill jobs. But not that many jobs all at once.
Townsend wanted people who would be a good fit for the sometimes stressful and physically challenging job of nursing assistant. The low-skilled, relatively low-paying job has a high turnover rate. The price tag for Loretto to train the new workers was $180,000. They wanted to make sure workers stayed.
As the city of Syracuse struggles with poverty – nearly 50,000 people in the city are living at or below poverty – employers struggle to fill open positions. In March, the region had more than 5,000 open jobs.
The unemployed and employers have been struggling to fit together in this changing economy. The recruiting practices of entry-level and low-skilled employers sometimes miss the people who would eagerly take their jobs.
But even when the efforts do reach the job seekers, they often lack the right skills,
Enter Work Train, something of a matchmaker for employers and the unemployed.
Leaders from Loretto and Work Train put their heads together to think outside the lines. Where could they look for workers that they hadn’t been looking before? What barriers blocked people who might be good nursing assistants?
Work Train is part of CenterState CEO, a regional economic development agency. Over the past year, Work Train has recruited 130 employees. Of those, 113 have been placed in jobs. They helped fill all of Loretto’s openings, and are continuing to send employees their way, Townsend said.
Work Train started out in 2009 as a small operation aimed at working with St. Joseph’s Hospital Healthcare System to help refugees on Syracuse’s North Side find work. Since then, it has worked with 300 potential employees, placing 261 of them in jobs.”
To read the entire article, click here.