Greater Hazleton and the surrounding region have a workforce that is qualified, ready and available.
Senior Human Resources Manager Sandy Sola said American Eagle Outfitters received hundreds of applicants for its positions, and the company has been pleased with the caliber of Greater Hazleton’s workforce. “Part of our staffing strategy is to partner with local temporary agencies to help us secure our entry-level workforce. We are currently in the process of converting many of those individuals to full-time employment. And, we still have a very healthy candidate pipeline of individuals trying to find positions with American Eagle Outfitters,” she said.
Sola spoke highly of the assistance that American Eagle Outfitters received from the PA CareerLink®. “CareerLink representatives toured our center and met with us to understand the types of employees we wanted to hire. They also explained to us the various skill sets available and types of schedules and wages that are competitive in the area. That information was used to craft an in-depth staffing plan that helped us arrive at the talent we ended up hiring,” she said.
“They also gave us exposure to the labor market, sending us applications and resumes from individuals. We used their facility several times to host trainings and seminars. All of those efforts helped lead us to staff the team that we did. Not only was CareerLink helpful to us early on, but they still are one of our key partners,” Sola said.
The assistance provided by the PA CareerLink® includes training to help employees meet the goals of their employers, channeling funding from the state to pay for the training. A variety of training is available through the PA CareerLink® to ensure a skilled workforce. Programs such as plumbing and heating technology, industrial maintenance, CNC (computerized numeric control) technology and building maintenance technology are among the 123 certified programs offered through the state.
Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre PA CareerLink® Site Administrator Christine Jensen pointed to a recent report prepared by the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board on workforce demand in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. The report shows that there are 1.6 unemployed people for every online job posting. Jensen said the figure doesn’t include people considered underemployed and those currently working part-time but looking for full-time work.
“There is a significant percentage of the population that is available for work. We are actively working with them to make certain that they have the skills that our employers need. We reach out to employers to determine what their workforce needs are for the future,” Jensen said.
PA CareerLink® specialists help employers search for employees with the right skills using the JobGateway® website. Training dollars are also available through the On-the-Job Training program, which reimburses employers a portion of a new employee’s salary during the first six months of employment to compensate for lost productivity during the employee’s training period.