Necessary Skills
A workforce crisis is looming!
By Bruce E. Mowday
Date Published: 3/1/2017


Central Pennsylvania companies are desperately seeking Susan and Ted and Alice and Bob and Carol. That is, they and thousands of others are wanted and welcomed if they have the necessary skills or the inclination to be trained to do the many unfilled lucrative jobs in the area.

Help wanted signs are being hung in clusters because of the lack of skilled workers for high-paying employment opportunities. And, those signs aren’t about to be taken down anytime soon. Area business experts see a severe shortage of skilled employees lasting for the foreseeable future. One state-wide report indicated at least 1 million skilled workers will be needed in Pennsylvania through 2024.

In fact, a crisis is looming for companies in Lancaster and the Harrisburg region if they don’t take steps immediately to find and hire qualified employees and upgrade the skills of those currently employed. The crisis is being fueled by Baby Boomers heading to retirement and to a strengthening economy that is producing additional work opportunities. In 5 years, the search for qualified workers is expected to be more dire than it is today.

A look at a February job fair at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster is a clear indication that an overwhelming need is present. Laurie Grove, director of career services, said 400 employer representatives from 150 companies agreed to take part in the job fair. Another 100 companies expressed interest in attending but there wasn’t sufficient room for them at the campus fair. With some businesses being shut out of the job fair because of lack of space, Grove said the school is conducting a virtual job fair so those business representatives that couldn’t attend the campus event can also promote their companies.

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