Posted & filed under News, Skill Gap.

Understanding the Employment Skills Gap in Central New York, OCL’s latest report, explores the apparent disconnect between the number of people looking for full-time employment and the unfilled jobs in the area. The study revealed many real barriers for both employers and job-seekers as well as the potential for the employment community to utilize approaches that optimize success for all partners. OCL members and study participants will receive a hard copy of the report.

The Onondaga Citizens League released its new study report at a Greater Central New York Business and Education Consortium meeting on Friday, April 24, 2015, at Lockheed Martin. OCL-SkillsGapStudy-2015-501 resized
The report, co-chaired by OCL board members Barbara Carranti of Le Moyne College and Ben Lockwood of Housing Visions, addresses the disconnect between the numbers of people seeking employment and extent of unfilled jobs. The yearlong study began by looking at the middle skills gap (jobs that require more than a high school education but less than a four-year college degree). Through presentations and panel discussions, the group broadened the study to explore a variety of employment gaps.
A consistent theme in the skills gap discussion was a lack of soft skills among job seekers. Soft skills include communication skills, time management, problem-solving and teamwork. It also includes business etiquette such as appropriate dress and workplace behavior. “The soft skills are the hardest skills,” said Jeff Craig, a study committee member and assistant superintendent for instructional support services at OCM BOCES. “They’re the skills we need.”
Job-seekers also suffer from lack of networking skills, the committee found. “People don’t grow up knowing that it’s word of mouth or who you know that gets you in the door,” said Melissa Menon, program director at One Point for Jobs. Agencies, community members and employers can help bridge this gap by collaborating on programs that mentor job seekers and help them learn skills to build their own networks.
Employers need to modify their recruitment methods, training practices and compensation levels, the committee found, to respond to the labor market and address their staff needs. Employers were advised to invest time and resources to assessing potential candidates, coaching and training new employees and paying wages that match the education, skills and experience of employees.
Representatives from Lockheed Martin, Loretto and King & King Architects echoed concerns about job applicants’ lack of soft skills and emphasized the need to introduce young people – as well as parents, guidance counselors and teachers – to workplace options at an early age. “I see this report as a call to action to get our collective act together,” said Jim King of King & King. “It’s a call to action to continue these conversations.”
For more information or to view the full study, visit