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Industry Survey Pinpoints Local Skills Gaps (10/07/2013)

Data will drive future MCC training programs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Oct. 8, 2013 – Greater Rochester businesses representing six different industries reported a shortage of qualified candidates for about 740 persistently unfilled positions, mostly at the middle-skill level, according to a survey conducted by Monroe Community College in collaboration with the Center for Governmental Research and the Rochester Business Journal.

The Rochester Area Skill Needs Assessment and Business Climate Survey,conducted in March, also showed a heavy demand for computer numerically controlled machinists and a need for on-site supervisory/management and leadership training.

The survey represents the first initiative by MCC’s Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services Division, led by Vice President Todd Oldham, aimed at generating local labor market information to address workforce challenges and drive future MCC program development.

A total of 338 individuals from area businesses responded to the survey on topics covering skill needs, training and the business climate. The respondents represented agriculture and construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and warehousing; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality industries.

Some significant findings of the survey:

-- The area’s high unemployment rate can be attributed to a mismatch between job seekers’ skills and employers’ needs, but other economic factors may also explain why positions are unfilled. For example, non-competitive wages for demanding work, such as semi-skill health care occupations, may lead to high employee turnovers.

-- Training provided on company site is preferred over online instruction and off-site training.

-- 44 percent expect the Rochester business climate to improve in the next few years while 20 percent were less optimistic.

“The survey results confirm that our efforts in the past two years to strengthen the local workforce pipeline represent a step in the right direction,” Oldham said. “We can start looking for patterns and gain a better understanding of where we’re going to make investments to support the economy now and in the future and to help businesses compete.”

In response to local employers’ critical workforce and training needs, MCC launched several initiatives this year, including:

-- A credit-bearing accelerated precision machining certificate program, designed to prepare displaced workers and military veterans for employment in six months, instead of the usual one year. Upon completing the program, they will receive job placement assistance. The inaugural class of 13 students will complete the program on Friday, Oct. 11.

-- A selection of 40 noncredit courses offered by the MCC Corporate College beginning this fall to prepare individuals for career advancement and job opportunities in the Rochester region.

MCC plans to conduct this survey twice a year to stay on top of changing workforce needs of local industries. Oldham said the next survey, scheduled to go out later this year, will reach a larger segment of the health care workforce.

Media Contact:
Hency Yuen-Eng
Marketing and Community Relations

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