Finding the best skilled talent for our growing life sciences company can be challenging, especially in a region where the skills gap continues to widen. We are devoted to spending the time and resources to identify and develop our staff. But, talent recruitment and development don’t come without inherent risks.

Even after months of concentrated recruitment activity, there are times you just can’t find the right employee. Other times, you have a good candidate, but once the employee is on-staff you realize the hire is not a good match. Sometimes, things just don’t work out, despite your best efforts.

As a business owner committed to building a successful enterprise, I know that our business is only as good as the employees we hire, train, and welcome into our family of valued team members. I am proud of our talent development efforts and believe one of my top responsibilities as president and CEO is to ensure we attract the best and brightest.

We take a holistic approach to recruitment and talent development and provide multiple entry points and growth opportunities for employees in our company. We hire college interns to give them experience outside the classroom with the goal of developing an early interest in what we do: helping companies expedite life science product development regulatory pathways. Our customized training programs for both new and existing employees ensure they remain leaders in their areas of expertise.

These ongoing talent development programs take time and resources to implement and operate, but what if you could have these resources available at no cost with little-to-no risk?

That’s what we found with Employ Up, a targeted talent development program through EmployIndy. Employ Up received an $8.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to invest in training for residents who have found themselves in a job that doesn’t use their skills or education, or who have been unemployed for more than six months. The grant is being used specifically to help Central Indiana businesses recruit skilled talent in the high-tech fields of life sciences and technology – two of the region’s fastest growing industry sectors where the skilled talent deficit is particularly prevalent.

We recently hired a seasoned life sciences associate who had been out of the workforce for an extended period of time raising her family. She was ready to re-enter the workforce, but wanted a new challenge. Employ Up and its Business Solutions Representative introduced her to Pearl Pathways, knowing her career interests and capabilities intersected with our needs for a quality assurance team member. Employ Up’s Business Solutions Representatives are uniquely qualified to match talent with businesses thanks to their breadth of knowledge of job demands in Central Indiana, understanding of market-specific skills gaps, and a sense of what companies need to succeed in the local market.

In addition to identifying the ideal candidate with the skills to fit our needs, Employ Up helped develop and fund a 6-month internship program. They paid for the intern to work on-site alongside our employees. That’s right. Employ Up paid for an internship to ensure the employee-employer match would succeed and that she would join our team with the precise skills needed for the job. The internship was a great trial period for both the prospective employee and our company.

So how can you de-risk a hiring decision? You use the resources that are available to you and invest in a partnership with those who have the same goal as you do to grow employee potential, the local economy, and your business.

Diana Caldwell is President and CEO of Pearl Pathways.

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