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Shiawassee County employers getting creative to fill about 1,000 jobs

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Shiawassee County is experiencing jobs growth.

At last check, local employers were looking to fill roughly 1,000 jobs. The county’s top economic expert says companies are stepping up their game to recruit the best talent.

The issue of attracting and retaining talent in Shiawassee County existed before the coronavirus pandemic and certainly has become worse over the last year. Justin Horvath, president and CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, calls it a war for talent -- one he’s never seen in his almost 19-year career.

“First and foremost, one of the things we’ve seen here just in the last few weeks and months, there’s been a massive uptick in entry level wages,” he said. “Businesses that before were paying minimum wage now have increased those hour rates 2, 3, 4, 5 dollars an hour.”

That’s a decent chunk of extra change. Some are even offering better benefits packages, flex time, better work environment and culture and something else that might allow parents to breath a little easier.

“Offering some sort of subsidized child care, which is certainly a top issue for a lot of folks,” Horvath said.

He said the pandemic has taught -- and in some cases forced -- employers to get more creative finding talent they need to fill the jobs.

“It’s causing them to say, hey what do we do to relieve this pain? And that means not only offering better compensation and benefits packages for new workers, but also doing what they can to retain workers better,” Horvath said.

Another problem he is working to address is better communication and advertising of open positions, such as working with local TV and radio stations, social media, jobs boards and job fairs.

“People that live in a community, they may not even be aware that that business is there -- let alone that they’re hiring. And in many cases these companies are located in industrial parks that may be out of the way, so because they’re hidden their job opportunities are hidden as well,” Horvath said.

Two Shiawassee County employers are hosting job fairs this week, including Servpro and American Recycling Centers.

The Servpro job fair is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at 1111 E. Main St. in Owosso. They are trying to fill a number of full-time positions related to fire and water damage restoration.

American Recycling is planning a job fair for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at 655 Wabassee Dr. in Owosso.

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