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With more jobs than people, Greater Cincinnati businesses urged to seek out the disengaged

a letter board sign outdoors reads "workers wanted apply within"
One reason for the current labor shortage is the continuing low birth rate. One labor analyst says by 2034, older adults will outnumber children.

Solving Greater Cincinnati's labor shortage might come down to zeroing in on people who aren't actively looking for work.

Dustin Lester calls that segment of the population "disengaged."

He works for Lightcast, a company that uses data to create hiring strategies, and spoke to area business leaders at the Northern Kentucky Chamber event Eggs ‘N Issues Tuesday.

“Focus in on lots of people with less advantageous backgrounds — people with a disability, veterans, people formerly incarcerated, people with spotty employment, caregivers, chronic health problems, and mental health problems,” he says.

Greater Cincinnati mirrors the rest of the nation when it comes to finding workers.

Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Nancy Spivey helps businesses find employees and hears this: “ 'I’m desperate. I can’t find enough people to keep the doors open.' "

Northern Kentucky programs are helping

Northern Kentucky is using several strategies to fill jobs, including Growing NKY, a public-private partnership to address workforce development in a comprehensive way. You-Science is a high school science assessment to close gaps in key employment sectors. SB 90 is a pilot program offering low-level offenders a chance at treatment and employment help.

Gateway Community and Technical College and the Chamber are hosting a seminar about how to better engage people with disabilities on Oct. 21.

Lester also urges companies to be flexible by allowing remote work when possible and making their business family friendly. He suggests paying for on-the-job training, using HR systems who don’t weed people out based on skill set and working to retain the employees they have.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.