Community-wide effort in motion to address local job shortage


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Right now, 2,000 jobs are open in Leon, Wakulla, and Gadsden Counties. So, there’s a community-wide plan in the works to get open positions filled, starting with students.

“We have less people going into the workforce, we have baby boomers, and others retiring early, so we have to start now.” Corrie Melton is the Vice President of Membership and Talent Development at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

TalChamber, along with Leon County’s Office of Economic Vitality, and other organizations are teaming up to keep up with the shortages in healthcare, hospitality, and tourism…starting with students. Melton said “this is our future workforce if you think about Amazon moving in, a lot of the people that will be working at Amazon are sitting in our high schools right now, so we need to prepare them for life.”

In late September, middle and high school students will get the opportunity to explore over 50 local businesses through a career fair. Introducing them to future career opportunities now, which could prevent high turnover in the workforce later. Melton added “they can intern, they can job shadow, they can go ahead when they’re in high school and earn a Certified Nursing Assistant certification.”

County and city leaders are also working with CareerSource Capital Region. Chief Executive Officer, Jim McShane, says no baby boom in 40 years has turned this into a long-term problem. McShane said “there are not enough people in the next 3 to 4 generations so we will be a in a crunch for a long time to come, this is a problem in Germany, Japan, and China. ”

That’s why they’re also working with local colleges to look at ways to keep students here after graduation.

McShane explained “we work with TCC, and Lively, and Keiser, and the three of them are supporting what we’re trying to do in getting people into what are high demand jobs and getting them trained as quickly as possible.”

Registered nursing positions are hardest to fill across Leon, Wakulla, and Gadsden Counties…with 691 positions open right now. Following registered nurses, the top five most in demand jobs are customer service representatives, management analysts, retail sales, computer programmers, and physicians and surgeons…There’s also a huge need for Certified Nursing Assistants.

TalChamber is in the process of meeting with all city, county, school, and law enforcement leaders in the community to develop better pathways to bring workforce and education together, to get jobs filled. Check out their online platform TalentHub which connects local businesses to local talent. TalentHub lets job seekers at any level find out what a job is really all about and then apply right on the spot. Melton says it’s a workforce system tool that covers everything from education to career path so people can easily find a job they like.