ADA creates Ardmore Workforce Project

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ARDMORE, OK - "The availability of workforce at all levels that are needed in industry is a continual problem," said Ardmore Development Authority President Brian Carter, who said they've been grappling with that issue ever since the fall of 2012.

The lack of employees spans across all types of businesses from large industries to downtown shops.

Back in 2013 the ADA conducted a study that found 600 chronically unfilled positions. One hundred of those are salaried with high education requirements and the rest entry level.

"All of those represent a huge amount of payroll for our community," said Carter. "It's about $25 million dollars a year in payroll not circulating in Ardmore because the people aren't here."

And it's Ardmore businesses like Michelin that are feeling the effects first hand.

"There are times where we do have challenges, as you said, to fill positions" said Tony Fouladpour, Michelin spokesperson.

To help eliminate that challenge the ADA has created the Ardmore Workforce Project. Currently they are connecting with employers lacking labor and analyzing the issues trying to figure out exactly why there's a lack of skilled and work-ready applicants.

"Part of it is our own success, part of it is a trend that's being seen around the country in many places where the pockets of high unemployment aren't matching the pockets of unfilled jobs," Carter said.

Carter hopes to end this year with a clear picture of the labor challenges facing companies so they'll be ready to find solutions in 2015.