Employee/employer surveys on the way


Discussion among Morrow Workforce Alliance members at their April 2 meeting was lively as they discussed questions for employee and employer surveys. The surveys will soon be distributed to county businesses, agencies, and institutions which employ workers in Morrow County.

As the Morrow Workforce Alliance (MWA) of 54 members enters its second year, business, education, and community representatives tackled plans and strategies for the next two years.

Workforce Development Coordinator Angela Powell said, “We formed MWA because we know Morrow County is growing.”

Powell said as the group formed, it used the Knox County Work Force Alliance as a model. They saw no need to reinvent the organization for Morrow County. The group has discussed what barriers there are to working in Morrow County since about 80% of the available workforce leaves the county for work. She said lack of child care and transportation are issues that are often mentioned.

“We discussed that a survey of employees is needed to find out what the actual needs and barriers are for employees and employers in order to strengthen the workforce,” Powell said.

Topics in the MWA monthly meetings included labor market information, employee retention, barriers to hiring, business resources, appealing to Gen Z and Millennials, techcred, job postings and hiring practices, leadership training, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and OMJ Readiness Seal.

Two questions the group hopes the survey will answer are why are 80% of workers leaving the county to work and at the same time, why are others coming into the county to work who live in nearby counties?

Mike Augenstein, director of workforce solutions at Marion Technical College, said the first draft of the survey made by Powell with Jim Ferriman and Kelly Carey is the most thorough and comprehensive survey he has seen. He said most surveys only have five or six questions. He suggested an incentive such as a gift card would be helpful to get employees to fill out the survey.

Powell said the survey is completely anonymous for employees. To give an incentive such as a gift card, they would need a name or an email. They wanted to keep anonymity so employees wouldn’t worry about the employer finding how questions were answered. The only indications of identity are what county the individual resides in and in what county the person is employed.

Questions for employees will ask what barrier or concern they have, whether transportation, child care, elder care, court probation, housing, job qualification, education, medical condition or disability, and pay at a living wage.

Employers will identify themselves on the employer survey and answer questions on job training, onboarding, current job openings, if remote or hybrid positions are available, challenges in hiring such as lack of skills, too few applicants, too many applicants, and not enough training. The survey also asks what programs the employer would like to see MWA bring to Morrow County.

The group agreed to get the surveys out to employers and employees in May this year after the group approves the final draft.

The group discussed the use of written surveys versus all online surveys. Michelle Smith, of Lubrication Specialties, Inc., said it’s good to have written surveys available for employees as well as online surveys. She said her experience at LSI is that a few employees don’t have computers and one doesn’t have a cell phone. Some smaller businesses may only use written/paper applications.

Programs sponsored and organized by Morrow Workforce Alliance this year will be:

• emPower, in which 11th graders will visit CYT, Adelet, LSI and Bailey Lumber. Students will learn about skills needed in these businesses and have the opportunity for an interview.

• AMobile Workforce Fair on May 9 will take a look at careers such as electricians, police, construction workers, and others who work out of their cars or other vehicles.

• Teacher Bootcamp will be held June 11-14. Teachers will learn about skills needed in various businesses, which usually aren’t taught in the classroom. MWA is presently taking applications for the Teacher Bootcamp.

For more information about these programs or the Morrow Workforce Alliance, email [email protected].

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel. She can be reached at [email protected].

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