Robin Kitchell and Jennifer Thomas work with staffing companies that cater to Middle Tennessee. Both saw the Great Recession take its toll on employers and employees.
But if you ask them which way the economy is headed, you’re likely to get two very different answers.
Kitchell works for a nonprofit called Workforce Essentials, which partners with the state to help out-of-work residents find jobs. Skills training, career coaching and resume critiques are also offered — and all for free. For four years, Kitchell has managed the Williamson County Career Center and said that even here, in the state’s wealthiest county, and even today, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee, hundreds of people each month come through the door looking for a job.
“I think it’s more rampant in Williamson County than people like to think,” Kitchell said of joblessness.
Thomas, meanwhile, is the marketing director for Vaco, a Nashville-based office that caters to larger companies in search of executives and technology-savvy workers. Vaco was founded eight years ago and today has more than 25 offices across the U.S.
“It’s the strongest market,” Thomas said of Middle Tennessee. “We’ve got more job orders in Nashville than any other office.”
via Jobs are at top end of skills spectrum | tennessean.com | The Tennessean.
If you don’t understand the difference between the staffing world and the workforce development world then this article will only leave you confused.
Workforce Essentials, like many other workforce groups in Tennessee, works with more entry to mid-level roles and they also work more with industries that have been impacted by the recession. Vaco is a private, for profit enterprise, that focuses predominantly on the financial and IT world. Their mission is to make money (isn’t that the mission of all for profit business?), so they will adjust their business model to work with individuals and firms that have the greatest demand. If you don’t know the difference you might think that they are competitors. They are far from that and this article is written in such a way that the difference of their missions is not clearly explained.
South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance is a sister to Workforce Essentials, but they serve a different geographic region. They have handled many similar issues to Workforce Essentials, but their area has been hit MUCH harder than the regions listed in this article, especially Williamson County. Many counties in SCTWA are in the top 5 highest unemployment areas in our state.
The bottom line is this-both representatives are correct in their statements, but they are not referring to the same thing. Vaco is working with high-growth areas such as IT while Workforce Essentials has a much broader mission and audience including many that have been impacted at a much higher rate when it comes to unemployment.
One other point that the article makes that I strongly disagree with. A comment is made that college degrees don’t make a difference in today’s job market. This is a ridiculous statement and should be totally disregarded. The vast majority of new, higher paying, jobs will rely on applicants having post-secondary education. That does not always mean they need a 4-year degree, but it does mean that education cannot ever stop after high school.
Thanks to both of them for the work that they do.