Many new high school grads lack skills to fill 14,000 job openings in NW Ohio
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 02 June 2012 07:19
Young workers may not be fitting the skills needed by employers - and that issue is causing a "disconnect."
This was the message of Dr. Michael Bankey, associate vice president of workforce and community services at Owens Community College, as he spoke before the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Friday.
"Companies are having trouble hiring people, plain and simple," he said. He noted that in northwest Ohio alone, 14,000 job openings were posted in March - empty because workers don't have the skills to fill them.
"Definitely a disconnect there."
While those just coming out of high school - aged 18 to 19 years old - are the best-educated group in history, they are also the largest portion of the unemployed workforce in the country. They simply are not able to connect to the positions that are available, Bankey explained. Many have weak math and writing skills - exactly the things that employers are looking for in their workers. He noted that more than 55 percent of the students under the age of 20 at Owens Community College are placed into developmental writing courses.
"What we are finding here is it's going to be a challenge."
These younger workers, he said, have a lack of employable skills, are not able to market themselves effectively to employers, and also have a poor work ethic.
"Because of the lack of work ethic they're seeing in the younger generation, they're much more inclined to go with the older generation" and hire them, Bankey said.
Also at the chamber board meeting, Tim Smith of Bowling Green State University addressed concerns that he has heard from residents regarding the recent razing of some university-owned residential property along East Wooster Street.
He stated that while the houses may have looked good on the outside, they had interior issues which would have been more expensive to deal with than the buildings themselves were worth. Smith said that the United Christian Fellowship site on Thurstin that was torn down will become a parking lot, as will the parcel of ground immediately adjacent to the Popular Culture building on East Wooster. However, the rest of the parcels will be converted to green space.
"Quite frankly, we're interested in improving the appearance, if you will, of the front door of the institution," Smith said of the green space.
City Administrator John Fawcett also spoke at the meeting, addressing persistent rumors that the site of the former Junior High School building, which was recently town down, will become a parking lot. Those rumors simply are not true, he said. Instead, the site, for the time being, will be converted to green space.
"I am hearing that every week," he said of the rumors. "It will be green space for some time."
The board also heard that retired BGSU Associate Vice President Larry Weiss, beginning in August, will take over the morning show on WBGU 88.1 FM for last full week of each month. The show is normally hosted by Dave Horger.
Weiss said the focus of the show will be in-depth stories about people and issues going on in the city and county.
"This way we're able to get a little more in-depth with the interviews," he said.
"It would be timely, it would be informative."