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Addressing the Skills Gap

March 31, 2016

March 2016 Regional Workforce News


 

WDC Spokane
Regional Workforce Snapshot
Labor Market Information
Fulfilling Demand
SAWDC Stresses Importance of Essential Skills in RFPs 
 
The SAWDC recently released twoRequests for Proposals (RFPs) to identify a Service Providers' Consortium and a One-Stop Operator to manage WorkSource Spokane and the Next Generation Zone, the Council's primary sites for talent pipeline development and business service offerings in Spokane County. Areas of focus outlined in the RFPs include essential skills development, self-sufficiency, career pathways, services to veterans and their families, young adult education and career services, business and industry services, and work-based learning. 

Essential skills are commonly ranked above technical skills by business leaders when asked about the skills needed by their current employees and job applicants. For this reason, essential skills development will become a core theme across all 18 WorkSource service locations  These skills are both crucial and hard to find, and include broad abilities such as works well with others and critical thinking The SAWDC is committed to enhancing the development of essential skills, as well as assisting hiring managers with accurately describing the skills necessary for success when crafting job postings. Other primary areas of focus outlined in the RFPs include enhancing the professional look and feel of WorkSource Spokane, and expanding the Next Generation Zone to meet the growing needs of young adult customers.
Progressive Business Focus
CHAS Health Develops Essential Skills to Provide Patient-Focused Care 
 
CHAS Health is an area non-profit committed to providing high-quality and easily accessible healthcare, regardless of insurance status. CHAS provides medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services to over 56,000 patients each year in Spokane County and the Lewis-Clark Valley. Like many employers, CHAS has experienced some difficulties in finding employees who already have well-developed essential skills which typically include writing, verbal communication, customer service, and problem solving, among others. 
With a commitment to providing quality, patient-focused care, CHAS has built  the development of essential skills into all levels of their staff training.   Kelley Halverson, VP of Administrative Services  said "we are finding that the technical skills are pretty easy to teach - it's the soft skills that are much more difficult for staff to retain and put into daily use. Things like actively listening, going the extra mile, and being kind and thoughtful are areas that we focus on." CHAS teaches entry-level employees what it means to provide excellent patient care;  and gives supervisors continuous training on how to have difficult conversations   with staff, provide effective coaching and  counselling, and encourage goal setting.  
 
In addition to training its staff, CHAS also provides internships for area students. "In 2015 we hosted 166 students who completed 11,865 hours of training time within our clinics. We take this opportunity to provide guidance about how to interact with patients," said Kelley. "We have had a wonderful time working with the next generation of graduates and have actually recruited those who fit well within our organization, so it has been a win-win all around." By providing essential skills training to every intern that spends time there, CHAS not only helps to skill-up potential new employees, but also helps to develop the skills that all employers are looking for.

 


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