The biggest concerns employers reported included a lack of applicants, job-seekers expecting higher pay than they can offer, and inadequate experience. Furthermore, 27% of employers reported applicants short on necessary hard skills or human strengths. With skills in communicating (written and verbal), collaborating, and problem-solving cited as the most valued human strengths. These “skill and strength gaps” then require employers to ramp up education and training programs for new and retained employees, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.
One solution is for the Oceanside business community to lead the charge in developing skilled talent right here within our city. By forging strong partnerships with schools, colleges, and nonprofit organizations, local businesses can not only influence, but also directly impact how students are being prepared for the workforce.
For example, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce is a key partner of the Oceanside Promise. The Promise is a community-wide partnership united by a shared vision of every child and young adult reaching their fullest potential in college, career, and life.
Earlier this year, the Oceanside Promise partners launched the Latino Young Men Success Initiative with the goal of better preparing our community’s Latino young men for postsecondary and life success. The need emerged from an analysis of school district and college persistence data which showed Latino young men were lagging their peers in graduating from high school college and career ready and earning college degrees. Furthermore, according to PolicyLink’s National Equity Atlas, there’s a persistent wage gap between North County’s Latino population and other racial/ethinic groups which has social and economic implications for us all.
The Oceanside Promise’s Latino Young Men Success Initiative provides several opportunities for businesses to get involved including:
- Hosting a paid internship or two this summer that provides students with real world experience in a field of interest;
- Offering an experienceship with your business including a job-shadowing day, company tour, or opportunity to participate in a scheduled workforce training;
- Signing up to be a mentor or speaker and sharing your professional journey with students as opportunities arise. Latino male mentors and role models from a variety of professions are especially needed; and/or
- Sponsoring a paid internship at a nonprofit organization or small business by donating $2,500 per intern to the Oceanside Promise.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides these additional recommendations for businesses:
- Attend local school board meetings to voice local workforce needs;
- Collaborate with local schools to promote workforce needs and to support workforce readiness;
- Set up career exploration days for students to visit local businesses. Finally, nonprofit organizations supporting youth development are always looking for business leaders to get involved on boards, taskforces, and as advisors. Seek out ways to contribute your skills and knowledge to improving workforce readiness and our local community.
The Oceanside Promise is actively seeking business community partners as mentors, internship and experienceships sites, and sponsors for the Latino Young Men Success Initiative. Partnerships can be customized to meet your needs and those of the students involved. To learn more, visit our website or call.
By Dr. Nicole Magnuson