The Tucson Metro Chamber is committed to building commerce with the purpose of reducing poverty and growing our local talent. During our member outreach of about 1,000 employers, we hear finding people with the right skills is challenging. Working with employers and educators, the chamber is navigating these complex waters to address current and future talent needs.
The Chamber is currently piloting technology to centralize workforce efforts bringing talent, employers and job trainers and educators onto one platform. While our community produces talent from our K-12 system, higher educational institutions and our non-profit community, the challenge is for job seekers to identify all resources available and for employers to efficiently find the right talent.
Last October, the Tucson Metro Chamber tested this technology by holding a hiring event. The result of one afternoon of interviews: a 68 percent hiring rate. The success of the event was due to a new approach to hiring using skills-based matching. The technology translates positions into a list of skills including civilianizing military occupational codes into human resources hiring codes. Veterans are often underemployed as their training, rank and job in the service are often unintentionally overlooked and underestimated. This technology takes the guess work out of the equation by more effectively outlining the hard and soft skills of the talent our veterans possess. With considerable talent transitioning from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ft. Huachuca and the Air National Guard, there is good reason the Chamber is identifying ways to better connect job seekers to employers.
Highlighting the employer experience in using this technology, said local employer Cristie Street, managing partner of Nextrio.
“Often it’s difficult to find qualified employees with well-developed technical skills in addition to soft skills that are vital for success in the workplace,” Street said. “The matching platform that pre-vetted applicants simplified the hiring process and brought forth exceptional candidates with refined skills in both spectrums.”
Yolanda Bay of CAID industries remarked: “This event provided a higher probability to find qualified candidates. It allowed us to review resumes beforehand and to have others in the company review the resumes. This is a great program and I can’t wait to use it again. “
Responding to employer needs, the chamber is holding another hiring event on Tuesday, April 23. What gets employers so excited about this event is how different it is compared to a typical job fair where employers are staged at a booth for many hours hoping a candidate finds you which simply begins the hiring process. The hiring event starts and sometimes even ends the hiring process on the same day.
The Sun Corridor Inc. Blueprint Update suggested our region implement a systems approach and, “combine a regional talent strategy with industry cluster planning and implementation.”
Using technology to create a systems approach brings together employers from several industries to participate in the hiring events while also assembling data to identify skills gaps. Pima Community College and the University of Arizona are partners on this project for the benefit of their students and employer partners.
Full implementation of skills-based matching platforms also gives our employers the ability to find talented individuals outside our region since the technology is internet-based. Our region can use this software as a talent-attraction tool giving employers greater access to talent and opening more doors for job seekers.
It is for these reasons and more the Tucson Metro Chamber is leading efforts to address the needs of all businesses while growing our community to gain skills and earn higher wages. A greater skilled citizenry leads to a more prosperous community, something we could all get behind. For more information, go to tucsonazjobs.com or TucsonChamber.org.
Amber Smith is the President and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber.