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Education and the Workforce

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With a strong economy and unemployment   historically low, like it is now, finding and retaining qualified workers has become a major challenge for employers. Education and training are vital to recruitment and retention efforts, but can have a profound effect on an organization’s growth and prosperity, as well.

Years ago, it wasn’t surprising to see an employee spend his or her entire

career with one employer. In fact, it was rather common to find employees in the same job from hiring to retirement. If promotions did occur, rudimentary on- the-job training would be provided.

Today, that just isn’t the case. Employee retention has taken on a new significance amid one of the tightest labor markets in the past 50 years. The robust job market has given employees the confidence to seek new opportunities, while employers are wrestling with rising compensation and heated competition for new hires, both salaried and hourly.

Companies are trying every tactic, from raising salaries to bolstering benefits to offering more training and education, with the latter becoming the most critical. According to the Work Institute, a consulting firm, inadequate career development is the leading reason people leave their jobs, with 21 percent of those interviewed citing it as the driving factor.

Ongoing education is critical. According to recent statistics, 70 percent of employers believe that employees need continuous learning simply to keep up with the demands of their current jobs. That number is surely higher in regard to employees looking to get promoted from their current job. Ninety- six percent of employers agree that ongoing education has a positive impact on their employees’ job performance.

Providing education both enables companies to keep up in their industry through highly skilled workers, and also enables promotion from within (which saves companies time and money by avoiding costly outside hires). Employees who are promoted from within tend to be more successful and stay with their companies longer.

In this edition of the Business Magazine, we’ll highlight the importance of education and training to region’s growth and prosperity, as well as the$140 million investment being made by Highmark Health and AHN Saint Vincent to the Erie hospital campus and northwest Pennsylvania.

In addition, we’ll highlight the value of business education programs on our future workforce, such as the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education’s Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) and Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System’s (ACES) PA Business Week.

Plus, be sure to check out the latest HR, computer and professional development classes being offered at the Manufacturer & Business Association in our new training catalog or online at www.mbausa.org!