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CareerSource Southwest Florida conducted a regional career fair at Alico Arena on the FGCU campus in May 2019 sponsored by Lee Health and Arthrex. More than 70 employers and 1,500 job seekers took part in the fair. Most recently, CareerSource conducted a veterans’ hiring event in Fort Myers. CAREERSOURCE SOUTHEST FLORIDA / COURTESY PHOTO

CareerSource Southwest Florida hosted a regional careers fair at the Alico Arena on the FGCU campus in May 2019, sponsored by Lee Health and Arthrex. More than 70 employers and 1,500 job seekers took part in the fair. Most recently, CareerSource held a veteran recruitment event in Fort Myers. CAREER SOURCE SOUTHEST FLORIDA / PHOTO WITH KINDNESS

Everywhere we see signs saying “Now Hiring”. The current labor shortage is certainly having a detrimental effect on companies of all categories and at all levels. And in some cases we as consumers can feel this when we visit restaurants, shop in stores or have services performed.

CareerSource Southwest Florida, a nonprofit agency, is doing everything in its power to address the problem. They are part of a nationwide work preparation and employment system and are on standby during this critical time to help employers find staff and assist job seekers.

“The pandemic is likely to drive higher demand for skills and career support services,” said Mike Jackson of CareerSource, president of the board of directors. “We have just obtained information from regional employers, educators and policy makers about existing and emerging challenges for the workforce, and our board of directors is developing strategies to meet the needs.”

CareerSource SWFL Executive Director Joe Paterno has seen it all in his 30+ year career in the work and education world. “We’ve dealt with natural disasters like hurricanes and man-made disasters like the Gulf oil spill, but the COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest challenge,” says Paterno. “We had to switch from providing services in person to providing virtual overnight services. The labor shortage is much more complex than just removing subsidies and requiring people receiving reemployment benefits to document their search for work. There are still health problems, problems with childcare costs and availability, and problems with housing workers. “

One of the many factors attributed to the current talent shortage is what is known as the generation gap, according to Janeth Castrejon, communications manager at CareerSource SWFL.

“We had an employee shortage before COVID-19 started, but it was accelerated by COVID. The generation gap widened because baby boomers were retiring and millennials weren’t interested in taking on the jobs they left behind. The traditional job from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is no longer attractive for this younger generation. They are attracted to more flexible appearances and jobs at companies like DoorDash and Uber, ”explains Ms. Castrejon.

James Wall is retiring after a 30 year career as Director of Communications for Career Source. And he gives some advice to business leaders in our community.

“If you don’t acknowledge the challenges of a three or four generation workforce, you can lose up to 30 percent in production. Every generation has its quirks and quirks. And successful leaders will understand this and adapt to every generation gap, ”adds Mr. Wall.

CareerSource SWFL has only one goal – to get people back to work. They offer free employability workshops designed to help people return to or stay in work. Then there is vocational training.

CareerSource operates five one-stop career centers in Naples, Immokalee, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte and Clewiston with branch offices in LaBelle.

Employers are invited to use the services of recruiting, matching and pre-selection, job fairs and recruitment events, private interviews and employee training facilities.

The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools uses CareerSource SWFL on an ongoing basis. President and CEO Marshall Bower describes them as “our team that we need when we need to fill a position”.

Foundation program director Beverly Burke credits CareerSource for taking the hard work of finding potential employees.

If you are a hiring employer or a person looking for work, contact CareerSource. You can start by visiting www.careersourcesouthwestflorida.com. |

– Joe Landon is a communications consultant who retired in 2014 as Executive Director of Communications for Collier County Public Schools. Contact him at [email protected]

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