Marshall County Looks to Boost Work Force

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Jerry Chavez (photo courtesy Marshall County EDC) Jerry Chavez (photo courtesy Marshall County EDC)

The chief executive officer of the Marshall County Economic Development Corp. says a new pilot project aims to address the work force needs of area companies. Jerry Chavez says the project will include face-to-face meetings with businesses leading to a strategy to combat the issues. Marshall County has a 3.3 percent unemployment rate and Chavez says, while it is a good problem to have, it creates a shortage of skilled workers.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Chavez said the pilot project will be multi-layered, starting with one-on-one interviews with area businesses to see what they are dealing with on the local level. "What are the shortcomings that they find with regards to skill sets? Are they getting enough applicants in the door? What kind of information can we glean from these one-one-interviews that points us in the right direction (in terms of) of a starting point?"

Chavez says there are three main areas in which the MCEDC can help to address these issues. The first is looking long-term by working with high schools to develop career-ready programs and access to internships and apprenticeships in order to give young people the skills they need when they enter the work force.

The second area is working with existing employees to improve their skill levels through training as a means to provide career advancement opportunities. Chavez adds the third area is geared toward recruitment by bringing potential workers to Marshall County to fill available jobs. "We need to find new faces, people that are looking possibly to relocate to a county that offers good wages, low cost of living and has great career choices going forward."

The pilot project is being developed in partnership with the Northern Indiana Workforce Board, which operates Indiana's WorkOne centers in the region. The MCEDC says, if the project is successful, it could be scaled up and made available to other economic development organizations throughout the state. 

Chavez says the pilot project will be multi-layered.
Chavez says the project will begin with interviews.
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