January 5, 2013

Job skills gap? Skeptic says factors tell another story

The author says companies don’t invest in the work force and demand more than ever from job applicants, including a willingness to accept insufficient wages.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Martin said Idexx doesn't hire many people straight out of college. It's looking for highly skilled, experienced workers and tends to recruit "passive candidates," people working elsewhere and not necessarily hunting for another job.

The company's philosophy is to cross-train employees and give them opportunities to develop new skills, she said.

"It's not always about the dollars that you spend, it's how you encourage people to work cross-functionally and identifying projects for people to work on that stretch them a little bit," she said.

Martin says it's the company's responsibility to ensure that it's developing its employees.

"We want to build bench strength," she said.

But Martin said the company is also eager to work with lawmakers to bridge the skills gap.

The leading opportunity for that may come from the bipartisan commission recently formed by Democrats, who now control the Legislature. They plan to use the information they glean from business leaders, economists and other experts to develop a report with comprehensive recommendations. The findings will likely provide the foundation for a skills gap bill to be submitted for debate in the upcoming legislative session.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: stevemistler

 

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