Skills gap survey needs your input

Do you have jobs available you aren’t able to fill with qualified workers? If you do, you’re not alone.

Crain’s Rachel Abbey McCafferty reported last week that 99% of manufacturers surveyed by Tooling U-SME said finding skilled new workers is a problem.

That’s not just a talent gap, it’s a canyon.

And it’s not limited to manufacturing. In the same issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business, Stan Bullard wrote that securing skilled workers is the chief concern in Northeast Ohio’s construction and real estate industry, according to a recent Skoda Minotti survey.

How is your industry faring in today’s tight labor market? Are you having difficulty recruiting for certain positions?

College Now Greater Cleveland wants to hear your experiences as part of its “Bridging the Talent Gap” survey, which it’s conducting in partnership with Team Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Indians (who, by the way, have all the talent they need to bring home the World Series this year ).

The goal of the survey is to identify skills shortages employers have in the region. The information will help policymakers, educational institutions and training providers to better understand the employment landscape and to take targeted action.

“We hope to get the whole community involved to fulfill workforce needs,” said Julie Szeltner, director of adult programs and services for College Now. “We hope awareness will lead to collaboration with willing employers, educational institutions and others.”

The survey, which employers can find and fill out at, is confidential and results will be reported only in aggregate. A survey takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete, Szeltner said.

The survey is the product of the Graduate Network, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that works to increase the number of adults who complete college. It has conducted similar talent gap surveys in Kentucky, Tennessee, Spokane, Wash., and other communities. The organization recently received a grant to conduct surveys in four additional areas: Cleveland, San Antonio, St. Louis and Rhode Island, Szeltner said.

Crain’s recognizes the skills gap is an important issue that many employers in Northeast Ohio are struggling with, which is why we are urging companies to participate in the “Bridging the Talent Gap” survey.

A bridge in Kentucky or Kansas City might not be the right bridge in Cleveland. The more we as a community can understand the issue, the better equipped we will be to address it. We need to know how wide the gap is, and what specific skills are lacking, and, eventually, why. Only employers with jobs to fill can accurately provide that information, so, please, consider participating.

You can also hear how several local companies are tackling skills gap challenges head-on and brainstorm with fellow attendees on best workforce development practices at the Crain’s Manufacturing Assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Corporate College East.

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