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August 28, 2015
One of the most defining aspects of someone's life is the job they hold. Often times, we ask a person “What do you do?” before we even really get to know them. For people impacted by poverty, getting and keeping a stable job is a constant challenge and one that requires multiple resources and supports in order to be successful.
A thriving and productive workforce is a cornerstone indicator for the health of a community. While a majority of concerns regarding unemployment have subsided in Larimer County, a new issue is on the rise -underemployment. In simple terms, underemployment means the job one holds does not provide the necessary resources to become (or remain) self-sufficient. Often times this requires people to hold multiple jobs, work longer shifts, or compromise their employment entirely.
The sources of these challenges are complex. They include some of the more commonly discussed topics - lack of skills and education, lower wages, and no clear career path. However, there are a vast number of less visible challenges that include the Cliff Effect, social and cultural barriers in the
workplace, lack of employer supports, the high cost of childcare combined with a low rate of availability, affordable housing, and reliable transportation. This mix of factors is dangerous and creates a vulnerable workforce.
The impacts of these barriers are far-reaching and multi-faceted. A recent report stated that “losing employees is costly and time consuming- research has shown that the average cost of replacing an employee can reach as much as two times their salary.”Scarcity of resources leaves workers unable to communicate their concerns, creates declines in job performance, and ultimately results in absences and high turnover. These impacts hit home - creating instability, insecurity, and uncertainty for the families depending on the income.
So how do we provide long-term, lasting solutions for people facing these challenges? Without guidance and support, many of these barriers are impossible to overcome. United Way is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity for a better quality of life, and we know supporting stable and healthy working families requires a holistic approach - reaching both the employee and the employer.
Together, with our Community Impact Partners, we are working to provide solutions to both employees and employers that result in a high quality, stable workforce. Our partners like Project Self-Sufficiency, The Matthews House, and Homeless Gear are providing education, job training, and skill building opportunities that are based on the needs of the employers in our community. We also work to ensure people are set up for success on the front end - identifying their strengths, interests, and passions and then directly aligning those with current job opportunities. Research states that investing just $1 in high-quality workforce programs can provide returns of up to $17.90 over a 5 year period.
Turnover is costly to employers and can hurt the organization's bottom line. “By comparison, training and developing existing employees may be one of the most effective ways to address the skills challenge and to develop a sustainable talent strategy. Rather than finding a quick fix with external talent, take a look at upskilling your existing workforce first”. (SOURCE) United Way's Community Impact Partners like WorkLife Partnership and the Larimer County Workforce Center are dedicated to providing resources to employers that improve retention, reduce cost, and improve outcomes for individuals and families working frontline jobs.
Give-Make a contribution to United Way of Larimer County's WomenGiveprogram. This program breaks down barriers to employment by providing single mothers scholarships for quality early childcare while they return to school in order to attain the skills and education they need to establish a career and support their families.
Advocate-Are you an employer? Consider learning more about how to support your workforce for long-term success by working with WorkLife Partnership and their RISE Presentation. This valuable resource empowers employers to understand the principles of retention, inclusion, stability, and engagement.
Volunteer-Sign up to participate in the upcoming CommunityPoverty Simulationto learn more about how poverty impacts the ability to get and keep a job. You can also connect with one of our Community Impact Partners who focuses on employment and job training in our community.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County