September 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2014 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
State seeks to identify hard-to-fill jobs to target worker training programs
AUGUSTA—The Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information has mailed a survey to 3,500 Maine businesses seeking feedback about hard-to-fill jobs. The survey is being paid for in part by the Department of Economic and Community Development. Employers should be receiving the surveys the third week of September.
“Maine needs to ensure that businesses can find workers with the right skills for jobs in demand,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “This survey will help the state understand what jobs are hard to fill, and this will help us target training programs to teach those skills. The survey is an example of how the state can use its resources to be a partner to the business community instead of a hurdle.”
The survey will ask employers whether they have job openings for which they are actively recruiting in the month of September. It asks employers to respond yes or no, to briefly describe open positions, and identify whether the positions are difficult to fill.
“Maine continues to recover from the recent recession,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “Our unemployment rate has fallen dramatically, but remains above our long-term average. At the same time, many employers indicate they have difficulty finding workers who possess the knowledge and skills to fill job openings in their organizations. This situation is often described as a ‘skills gap.’ This survey will provide specific information that will help us determine where and to what extent skills gaps may exist in Maine.”
Employers can respond by mail, email, fax or telephone, or using an online survey. Employer participation is crucial – even if the response is “no job openings at this time”.
CWRI expects to report the results early next year, identifying vacancies by occupation, by industry and by geographical region. Specific employer information will be kept confidential.
This survey was paid in part by DECD to address the issues identified in the Workforce Opportunities Program. The Workforce Opportunities legislation approved last session requires DECD to work with the Department of Labor and industry partners to resolve the unmet employment needs of Maine’s businesses. The legislation did not identify the source of “unmet need,” so the survey serves as an important initial information tool to establish a baseline.
The Department of Labor will use the information to identify the number and types of job vacancies that exist and to learn what employers seek in qualified candidates. “We need to know which jobs are in demand and which are difficult to fill. This information will help target limited resources to meet the need for skilled and ready workers,” added Commissioner Paquette.
Employers with questions about CWRI’s surveys can learn more at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/respondents.html .
CWRI develops and disseminates information on employment, unemployment and wages; analyzes outcomes of education and training programs to guide decision-making; and develops industry and occupational employment forecasts designed to guide career planning and curriculum development. They work with a wide range of customers to provide context to the dynamics of the economy and the implications those have for workforce development. CWRI publishes a variety of data on Maine’s economy, workforce and demographics at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri .