Resources for meeting the need

 Resources for meeting the need Main Photo

29 Oct 2017

Kelly Halsted

Kelly Halsted

Editor’s note: This is the final of a Sunday series focusing on manufacturing and the employment in the region.

When it comes to finding a good job — or finding qualified workers — both job seekers and businesses have someone to turn to in Fort Dodge.

Between Iowa Central Community College, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and their partners, there are dozens of tools available to meet the need.

“Employee retention and recruitment is truly the largest challenge in every organization,” according to Kelly Halsted, economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “One third of new hires quit their job after about six months. You may think, OK just hire the next person. Well, replacing these ‘quits’ comes at a cost to the company.”

Halsted said a calculation method developed by David Rosnick from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, imparts the cost to replace an employee making $100,000 — with factors such as job learning curve, job search human resources costs, and advertising — can be closer to $50,000 and not the typical 20 percent previously thought of as the standard.

Recruitment and retention programs have been developed to support our existing and new companies to ensure their success. Below is a brief list of the type of soft tools that are offered companies by Iowa Central Community College, IowaWorks, and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Halsted said.

Recruitment tools

Career Fairs — IowaWorks organizes career fairs for companies in the region which are expanding and/or locating to the area. These are typically specific to one company. Iowa Central Community College also hosts a career fair in the spring for companies in our region and candidate in our region.

Free Career Posting — There are several free regional job posting boards available for companies to post and candidates to search. Here are just three in this region:

• Iowa Central Community College:

• Iowa Workforce Development:

• Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance:

Community Tours — Community leaders in the greater Fort Dodge area provide tours of the community to prospective employees. Since 2012, nearly 200 community tours have been provided. “I believe it is our job to sell the community and all the amenities that it has to offer employees,” Halsted said. “The company’s job is to provide the career opportunity.”

Resume Distribution — The GFDGA disseminates resumes of trailing spouses as well as other individuals who are also seeking employment with the region. The resumes are sent to nearly 100 businesses in the region.

“I always evaluate the resumes sent to me and have on a few occasions reached out to those individuals,” Melissa Nanninga, human resource director at Friendship Haven, said.

“I can spend hours on the internet searching resumes database and come up with very few candidates, but when I get resumes of people who want to move to the region, what’s better than that?”

Internship+ Program — The program is designed specifically for post-secondary students that are interning in a Growth Alliance member’s business. Internship+ Program’s goal is to create awareness of the opportunities the region has to offer a young professional. To date, the program has had 88 interns from across the country who were employed at 18 different entities.

Luke Hugghins, a former Internship+ Program participant and current Fort Dodge Young Professionals board member said, “I felt the Internship+ Program shined a positive light on areas and opportunities in the community that otherwise may have gone unnoticed for local individuals, and those from out of town as well.

“It was an efficient way to quickly build a network of young professionals experiencing similar stages of life around Fort Dodge. This allowed for an easy transition into the Fort Dodge Young Professionals organization when the time for full-time employment came. Our firm has enrolled our interns in the program each year, and will continue to do so.”

Externship — Iowa Central and Iowa State both offer teachers the opportunity to work in area companies. The purpose of this is to create a relationship between the schools and companies, as well as provide the teacher real world experience.

Career Day — Iowa Central Community College hosts an annual career day for 1,600 students every year to expose students to career opportunities in the area. Career Day is a valuable day for area students that sheds light on career awareness and helps prepare them for their future. The goal of the day is to help provide students with a dynamic and tangible experience that facilitates connections between their academic pursuits and potential professional endeavors in the future. It allows them to explore their interests and passions that are relevant to a career area that they are interested in.

Iowa Central Community College partners with 100 different business professionals in the region to make Career Day possible for students. Partnerships with area businesses is instrumental in providing a day that can help shape the future workforce and introduce them to their future career.

“Students are often unaware of what this region has to offer them so they look elsewhere. By connecting our students to business professionals in the area through career day, it provides a unique opportunity for businesses to help show our youth what our wonderful region has to offer them when it comes to employment and encourages them to stay local,” Halsted said.

Recruitment Video — In late fall the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance will be producing a video that focuses on workforce attraction. The video will be offered to companies to use in recruitment practices. There is also an opportunity for customize a message in the video.

Home Base Iowa — This program is committed to welcoming transitioning military members and their families who are leaving military service nationwide to come make Iowa their home, bringing much-needed skills to local employers.

IowaWORKS — This offers customized recruiting, including applicant testing, National Career Readiness Assessment and OPAC Systems on proficiency. It also assists with employer hiring events and job fairs, job postings and referrals, training programs for those that qualify for tuition assistance, and access to targeted populations.

IowaWORKS also offers monthly workshops to assist job seekers with resume development, re-employment services, financial literacy, soft skills, and “Bringing Your A Game To Work.”

Retention tools

Wage Benefit Survey — The Growth Alliance commissions a third-party consultant to execute a wage benefit survey. The survey covers wages from entry level to experienced, union and nonunion and shift differentials. On the benefit side it covers vacation, health insurance, retirement, and clothing allowances, among others.

The 2017 survey should be published for purchase in December.

Registered Apprenticeships — These combine on-the-job training with job-related instruction. Components of a Registered Apprenticeship include:

• Business involvement — employers are the foundation for the apprenticeship program;

• Structured on-the-job training;

• Related instruction;

• National Occupational Credential.

A Registered Apprenticeship helps businesses develop highly-skilled employees. Apprenticeship programs also reduce turnover rates, increase productivity and lower the cost of recruitment.

Ninety one percent retain employment after the program ends, according to the Department of Labor statistics.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email