GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro is feeling the effect of what jobs experts call the job skills gap where employers have a hard time finding applicants with the proper skills to fill their needs.
You can see it at R & R Transportation where they have struggled to add three or four drivers to keep up with high demand from local businesses.
“We need the Piedmont to work with us,” said Allen Robinson, a Vice President at R & R. “They have programs out here to help — Workforce, Guilford Tech Community College — we just need to give some incentives to the people to learn these skills.”
Robinson’s brother Karl visits many job fairs every year because he feels spreading the word about the need for skilled labor is the best way to motivate young men and women.
“You can’t just sit back and say, ‘I can’t get somebody to do this job,’ you got to go out and make your way — make your company’s way,” said Robinson.
According to the Department of Labor, there were 5.6 million job openings in December. That’s a near record amount, nearly matching the 5.7 million job openings last summer.
Those numbers surprised LaShelle Spinks, an office manager with R & R. She was even more shocked when she learned that the jobs report a shortage in qualified office workers for jobs like secretaries and office assistants.
“It’s a little shocking because most people want a job where they sit all day,” said Spinks.
Spinks has held her desk spot for 15 years.
“I know of other jobs that are harder,” said Spinks. “I don’t think this is too hard — it can be more stressful than hard.”
Spinks said she has friends in the medical field that are also feeling the stress of an unprepared workforce. She said nurses complain that there aren’t enough young people learning how to become registered nurses to keep up with the medical care demand.
“I feel like if you are just looking for any kind of job I think you can find it,” said Spinks.
Robinson hopes more people research careers and find out how they can be an asset in the job market instead of a disappointment.
“You can do trucking, you can be a diesel mechanic, you can do aviation — these are jobs that are paying well but if nobody tells [workers and students] about those programs or shows them how to get in… they’re going to go out there and be in the streets,” said Robinson.