As an employer, wouldn’t you like a “one-stop shop” to fill certain positions – one number to call, one contact with whom to speak to let multiple agencies know that you have jobs to fill – versus having to make multiple calls?
That’s the ultimate goal of the Business Relations Group of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Partners, an inter-agency alliance that’s working to tackle some of the area’s most pressing workforce challenges.
The Business Relations Group is focused on the Partners’ goal of “job-development coordination,” or developing and implementing a synchronized approach to job development among agencies.
“The genesis is that we all reach out to employers – Goodwill Industries, Charlotte Works, Vocational Rehab, the Urban League. We’re all going out there to see how we can place the specific clients we serve,” says Charlotte Works President and CEO Steve Partridge. “There’s no coordination, but there’s lots of duplication.”
“The plan is to coordinate job-development efforts among the partner agencies to reduce redundancy, reach more employers, better serve employers through centralized contacts and better serve clients by discovering more job opportunities,” says Jim Korth, On-The-Job Training specialist at Charlotte Works and Business Resource Group member.
(Other members are Phil Boger, director, business relationship management, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont; Robin Carson, senior vice president, employment services, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont; Carol Morris, vice president, community initiatives, Foundation For The Carolinas; and Donna Sobotkin, assistant unit manager, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.)
The Business Resource Group has met several times in 2014 and included business developers from other organizations. Korth says they’re initially learning more about the services each agency provides and comparing the employer databases each maintains.
This is key, says Partridge, because together, “we’re not getting to the 40,000-plus businesses in the county – we’re all focusing on the top 1,000. We want to dive deeper into certain sectors and industries.”
The Group is also developing shared definitions of “job development” and “job-readiness” and learning how to use NCWorks Online to share data about both employers and job-seekers.
Korth says it expects to expand to include other job developers by early next year.
The “nirvana” of all this shared learning and defining is to benefit employers, say Korth and Partridge.
“The big-picture outcome is that employers can contact any one of these agencies and say, ‘I have 30 jobs in these positions’ and it will get disseminated among all agencies,” Korth says. “Employers won’t have to call Charlotte Works, Urban League, Goodwill, etc.”
“We want to make sure we say to employers, ‘yes, there is a system,’” says Partridge. “The Business Relations Group will get us to a point where we can do more with less and provide better services via a system-wide approach.”
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