I would like to open my column with a big thank you to the Sikeston Elks and the downtown merchants that participated in this year's Halloween Window Painting Contest.
We had some very talented young people working on the windows and they did an outstanding job.
A topic the SACC Workforce Development Committee has been focused on for the last several months is our area workforce. This committee is made up of representatives from industry, small business, education, healthcare, employment services and retired business people. They have been discussing the issues employers are dealing with everyday when trying to hire a quality workforce and are working as a committee to come up with solutions.
It is a very difficult topic because there are so many "layers" to the problem. Some of the issues include: lack of high school degree or GED, no skilled or technical knowledge. Reliable transportation can be a problem or perhaps the prospective employee does not hold a valid drivers license. There may be a substance abuse problem, or perhaps the prospective employee can not find affordable and reliable daycare.
These are only some of the problems we are currently facing in the Sikeston/
Miner area. Problems, that in talking to my counterparts in southeast Missouri, I have found we are all facing. It does not matter what county or city, we are all facing workforce problems to some degree.
Our Workforce Development Committee is currently working with other agencies including Missouri Career Centers, Workforce Investment Board and our education systems to try and better utilize existing programs to meet education and training needs. The Chamber is also in process of adding employer resource information to our Website so employers can easily access the most current information and programs that are available to them.
Our business members have volunteered their services to work with Missouri Career Centers in going into the school systems in our immediate four-
county area to talk to students about their employment options and stress the need to complete their high school education in order to secure better employment. These are just the first steps in trying to create a better workforce situation for the Sikeston/Miner areas.
What we need to remember is if we don't have a good workforce to apply for new jobs-- business expansion becomes an issue and new business stops coming. The better our workforce track record with employers, the easier it is to attract new business. Better employees brings more business which brings more people to our area which grows a stronger economy.
You might wonder why I am bringing this up--because this is just one of the many issues your Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce tackles everyday. SACC is launching its Annual Membership Week, starting tomorrow Monday, Nov. 5. Our Membership Committee will be contacting area businesses about becoming part of our organization and becoming part of the solution to the many issues a growing area like the cities of Sikeston and Miner face.
SACC is able to work on issues like workforce or a new bridge to Kentucky or economic development, serve as information central for our area, or provide community projects because of our members and their support. So please join and become part of the solution and help create a better quality of life for us all.
For more information about the chamber or community event information you can go to our website at HYPERLINK "http://www.sikeston.net" www.sikeston.net or contact us at 573-471-2498.
Finally from your chamber staff we wish you a happy Veterans Day and a happy Thanksgiving.