Most employers will tell you that if you want a job in West Virginia, you can find one. And those are just the employers who are hiring now. What about all those big names we know are building and will be ready to hire soon? What about the employers we hope to recruit?
WalletHub’s “2023’s States Where Employers Are Struggling the Most in Hiring” ranks the Mountain State second. Only Alaska is having a harder time of it.
A WOWK report on Workforce West Virginia’s new ad campaign suggests some state officials are aware of the urgency in tackling this challenge. In its report, the station notes West Virginia is unusual in that 13% of state residents are employed in another state.
“… One of the goals we’re trying to do is to reincorporate those folks who are working across the border, to take a look at jobs opportunities here in West Virginia,” Scott Adkins, of WorkForce West Virginia, told WOWK.
Fine, but what are we doing to address the issues that drove those employees to seek work in another state in the first place? And here’s another reality: West Virginia borders five states. Of course many residents are going to work in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky or Virginia.
Employers are struggling to find the balance between maintaining a healthy bottom line and being able to pay a competitive wage. Plenty are having a hard time finding job candidates with the education and training necessary.
And, again, these challenges are right now. How do we tell the next headline-grabbing employer there will be workers to fill their jobs, if they decide to come to West Virginia?
Lawmakers and other public officials must work on rules and regulations that help employers provide the pay and benefits sought by good employees — even if that means simply getting out of the way. Educators and policy makers must be focused on providing a quality education. And our communities must move forward as though they are ready to welcome new residents.