Monday, May 29, 2023 | 04:37 am

Technology Trends and New Skills Were the Main Topics of the Workforce Conference in Stark, Ohio

Technology Trends and New Skills Were the Main Topics of the Workforce Conference in Stark, Ohio

Employers in Stark and Tuscarawas counties said they’re having difficulty finding employees to fill jobs.

During a conference Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cleveland-based Team NEO shared results of its recent survey that showed employers around the region share those difficulties and many more of the modern issues plaguing the economy.

The conference, titled “Future of Work,” also focused on technology advances needed for business success heading into the next five to 10 years.

The discussion Friday hit on remote and hybrid staffing, cross-training or retraining workers to improve their technology use, and finding new hires to replace retirees.

Many (employers) are not replacing people needed for the in-demand jobs we see today (such as teaching and manufacturing),” said Jacob Duritsky, vice president of strategy and research at Team NEO, who moderated part of Friday’s conference.

The (25- to 39-year old) population is not filling in for those who’ve left the workforce,” he added.

Some employee vacancy can be attributed to younger people not having “critical job skills” like problem solving, self-management and the ability to work in a group setting, Duritsky said.

Where young workers, or millennials, excel is a desire to work remotely and a high degree of new tech skills.

Friday’s forum was officially dubbed “Maintaining Competitiveness: The Intersection of Technology & Talent,” and was hosted by Team NEO and the Stark and Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board. About 80 people attended, including local political and business leaders.

Research is part of an ongoing project that Strengthening Stark is promoting to help bolster the local ecocomy and workforce.

Future of Work survey explained; results announced

In January, the Stark and Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board and Team NEO began to strategically study local workforce development, emphasizing the future and the likely impact of technology.

Kent State University prepared the survey for distribution via a dozen partners, such as chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. Feedback was received from more than 200 organizations or businesses in the two counties.

Companies in manufacturing, healthcare, logistics and distribution, tourism and travel, information technology, science and engineering were surveyed.

The survey results released Friday were from a partially completed report. The final results are due in June via Team NEO’s website.

Some highlights:

∎ 54% of companies are affected by an aging workforce

∎ 70.5% struggle to find quality talent to fill positions (such as teaching, welding and manufacturing)

∎ 80% of companies are partnering with high schools or vocational schools to get future talent in place

∎ 65% of businesses do not expect educational requriements to change in the next 5-to-7 years

∎ 73% of employers are willing to upscale, or modernize, their workers to have more technical skills

Aultman Health HR representative shares tech advances

Jennifer Kessel, senior vice president of human resources at Aultman Health Foundation, was a part of a three-member panel discussing new industry trends and technology. She said Aultman has about 500 AultCare insurance workers, and 90% are now either fully remote or hybrid employees.

“You still need someone to answer the phone and get you to the right person,” said Kessel, adding that telehealth meetings – or one-on-one computer video sessions – are becoming more the norm to expediate medical appointments.

Aultman’s technological advancements also includes the use of robots, Kessel said.

“They’re used to help (housekeepers) clean patient rooms and keep patients safe,” she explained. “Robots also help doctors perform more efficient (orthopedic and eye-related) surgeries.