Employers Need More Qualified Workers

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Maxine Sweet has spent more than 20 years caring for the elderly.

"If I can do something to make that person's day better, that did it for me."

Sweet works for Elder Care Services. The president there says it's not easy to find qualified health care workers like Sweet.

"It's a hard job. They're going into the home of frail elders and it doesn't pay much and it’s demanding work," said Elder Care Services President Elma Haley.

A Worldwide Manpower survey finds the jobs are out there, it’s just employers can't find qualified applicants.

"We find that there is ample job opportunity and job success. It's the talent that is lacking and employers are struggling to fill skilled positions and ones that require extensive training," said Martina McDowell who is the Tallahassee branch manager of Manpower.

McDowell says it's not just nurses and health care personnel. The survey also finds a shortage of talented sales representatives and engineers, and the regional workforce board says manufacturers too.

"Really what we need to focus on in the contemporary world is we need to retrain and re-skill the people that are available to work. We need to bridge the gap between open positions and unemployed populations," said McDowell.

All this is happening during a time when the unemployment rate in Florida is decreasing and the number of available jobs is increasing.

The Regional Workforce Board says it's working with local colleges to better prepare students for the work environment. They say the good news is the unemployment rate in northwest Florida is more than two percent lower than the national average.