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New survey examines workforce needs of Delaware business owners

From: Delaware Public Media

In an effort to bolster employment in the First State, the Delaware Workforce Development Board released the results from its recent survey of state employers.

The survey was commissioned by the Board to help various programs and initiatives aiming to increase the number of Delawareans possessing the job skills that employers need.

This week, our Joe Irizarry spoke with Joanna Staib – Executive Director of the Delaware Workforce Development Board – to learn more about the survey and its findings.

Delaware Public Media’s Joe Irizarry talks with Joanna Staib of the Delaware Workforce Development Board about the Board’s recent survey of state business owners.
The Delaware Workforce Development Board releases results from a recent survey of state employers to help improve Delaware’s workforce.

The Delaware Workforce Development Board wanted to focus on the needs of Delaware businesses in the post-COVID world where it seems there are more job openings than individuals.

The survey findings include that there are a lot of openings for those without a college degree, and those with a high school diploma or GED can enter the workforce more easily than in the past.

Delaware Workforce Development executive director Joanna Staib says another major takeaway is the number of businesses hiring those coming out of the criminal justice system.

“The amount of businesses that said that they do hire individuals that come out of the criminal justice system. So that was about 46% of the overall businesses that we surveyed said that they do hire individuals with a criminal background, and that number actually increased when we looked at the business size. So those businesses that had two to 10 employees that number went up to 55%,” said Staib.

Meanwhile, Staib says when businesses were asked what technical skills are lacking, they offered a surprising response.

“The top four out of five were like Microsoft Excel, Word, data analyst, and then just computer literacy overall,” said Staib. “I was thinking we’d get engineering or nursing, or whatever it was in their particular industry. But they came up with that digital literacy piece.”

She notes her group’s goal is transitioning individuals receiving services and training and placing them for a job.