Finding employees in a small, rural county is a challenge for many local organizations. The Talent Development Task Force of the Nevada County Tech Connection is working to solve that challenge. They hosted a free workshop on June 27 so that employers could learn from a panel of local businesses who have found success in building maintaining a pipeline of talent for their organizations.
Dee Rein, Human Resources Coordinator at Grass Valley – A Belden Brand, moderated a diverse panel of six local organizations, including AJA Video Systems, Autometrix Inc., the South Yuba Club, BrewBilt Manufacturing, the Restore, the Grass Valley Police Department, and Sierra Streams. Workforce agencies Sierra Small Business Development Center, Connecting Point, Alliance for Workforce Development presented their capabilities to a packed room at the Nevada County Business and Career Network building.
Internships Make Great Talent Pipelines
Employers on the panel spoke about several different creative recruiting strategies, with internships as a common thread across several organizations. AJA hires around 50% of their interns in permanent staff positions. Steve Johnson, Captain with the Grass Valley Police Department, teaches Administration of Justice clasess at Sierra College, where he scans for potential interns. “The Sierra College internship program is great pipeline for the police force,” he said. “We have hired several people after they go through the internship program. The program lets students see how things really work in a police department, and decide if it is for them or not.” One of the interns that Jen Ayala hired at the South Yuba Club is developing a nutrition program for the gym. “Every internship is very different,” she said. “The more experience I have mentoring these interns, the easier it gets. If it sounds daunting to start an internship program, take one on at a time and build off of that.”
On the Job Training Gives Employees the Skills You Need
Many of the organizations that were represented praised the Alliance for Workforce Development, who funds on the job training, for their help in filling the talent pipeline. Joanne Hild of the Sierra Streams Institute has a hard time finding qualified scientists. “We hire a lot of people who have an undergraduate degree in science and come back home but aren’t sure what they want to do next,” she said. “I don’t know how we would get that flow of people without a workforce training program like Alliance for Workforce Development.” Jef Lewis of Brewbilt also is a fan of the Alliance for Workforce Development. Brewbilt, which manufactures equipment for brewing beer, has grown from three employees in 2015 to 13 employees today, and they are hiring. “We have used the Workforce Alliance Program to train employees,” he said. “At a small company everyone needs to get along. We can bring them on, test them out, see if they are a fit.”
The challenge of filling the talent pipeline in Nevada County is real, but we can learn from each other what works and what doesn’t. As Bob Hudelson, Engineering Manager at AJA Video Systems put it, “Making us all aware of what the resources are and where people have had success is a great first step.”