But how bad do people want to work?
According to a Randolph United social media page, local businesses are hiring and hiring now! You will find several job openings locally in Randolph County listed on their Facebook page. From skilled to unskilled, the range of job opportunities are numerous, but how bad are residents wanting to work?
Eric Bromagem of Bromagem Heating and Cooling recently placed an employment ad in the News Gazette for a position in his company. Before the ad even appeared, he had filled the position. But then you have other employers who are struggling to find people to apply, either qualified or not.
Missy Williams of the Randolph County United recently stated, “There are jobs in Randolph County. Good Jobs. Ardagh, Cobalt Civil, Culy Construction, the school corporations, they are all looking for good working employees.” But the downfall is they cannot find employees who are willing to show up every day, pass drug tests and work hard for their employers.
You see help wanted signs on a pretty regular basis in several windows of businesses in the area. From restaurants to factories, the signs appear leading one to ask is this an immediate need or are they gathering resumes for a potential need? Williams states the need, most of the time is immediate. “Employers need all levels of employees from entry level to management, but the interest to apply isn’t always there.” A recent job fair for a local manufacturer offering starting pay of $15 an hour with good benefits in a climate controlled environment resulted in 1 applicant after many job postings and communications. “This is frustrating,” Williams remarked. “There are people who need jobs, the jobs are there but the connections are not,” she continued.
With recent increased government allocations of those on unemployment, some feel that this has allowed people to think that it is easier and more beneficial to remain on unemployment as opposed to returning to work. “Pride and working to create a better life needs to be instilled in our younger generation and it needs done now,” states Williams.
Much press has recently been given to Hillbilly Elegy. This is a 2020 American drama film directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay by Vanessa Taylor, based on the 2016 memoir of the same name by J. D. Vance. The story begins by explaining that Vance is not a politician or an academic. He is simply somebody who grew up in Appalachia’s working class and who found a way to achieve upward mobility against the statistical odds, which indicated that he would—as the grandson of “hillbillies” and the son of a drug addict—fail to graduate high school and likely succumb to drug addiction and domestic violence. His remarkable ability to avoid this fate, though, is not the reason he wrote Hillbilly Elegy. Rather, he wrote the book so that people could “understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children.
Williams says she can relate to this topic on a personal level. Her mother grew up in Tennessee and was one of 11 children. Growing up with very little, at the age of 16 William’s mother decided that she never wanted to be poor and worked in a factory, saving because she and her husband family wanted their family to be very different than how she was raised.
“We need to reach the high school age children and let them know the potential of what good hard work can do for them and their families in the future,” Williams states. The need to reach those 30-40 year olds who may not realize that entry level positions can quickly move to higher levels due to their experiences is there as well. But they need to get into the workforce again to realize this,”Williams continued.
Williams is looking into trying to find funding for multiple projects in regards to how to inform people of the jobs available locally, ways to educate potential employees on the benefits of working and other informational ways to improve the outlook in Randolph County’ s employment status. “We have to change the mentality of our future employees. We have to do something and quickly,” Williams explained. “Our high schools are working to create a vocational pathway to lifelong job opportunities along with college preparedness and our families need to support and strongly encourage their children to take full advantage of those opportunities”.
Indiana is reporting an unemployment rate of 5% for November 2020. The number reflects a .5% decrease from October. December’s rate however came in at 6.7%. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the state lost about 200 jobs as it continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate, which fell to 6.7% in November. Locally Randolph County ranks 37 in the state with a 4.4% rate of unemployment. Lake County leads the state with 7.4%.
Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Indiana’s labor force saw a net decrease of more than 40,000 over the month of October. The state’s total labor force, which includes Hoosiers who either employed or seeking employment, stands at 3.3 million for November.
The DWD says the decrease in jobs was primarily due to losses in the Professional and Business Services, and Leisure and Hospitality sectors. The state says total private employment stands at more than 2.6 million, which is about 105,000 below the January 2019 peak, and roughly the same as October.
Here is a list of local employers in the area that are actively seeking applicants according to their websites, advertising and job postings:
Winchester Grocery Outlet
Randolph County Abstract
Jay Randolph Developmental Services
Randolph Central School Corporation
Wilbert Caskets formerly Astral
Jo’s Corner Florist
Randolph County Probation Office
Lynn Veterinary Clinic
Randolph County YMCA
The list is just a few of those who are posted in various places. But as one can see the need for employees is abundant in the area.