Apr 03, 2018

Tight Labor Market Demands New Thinking, Action

Post by Freedom Partners

With employers increasingly desperate for qualified job applicants, as The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, it’s critical that policymakers and companies alike adopt a new approach and swift action.

The U.S. workforce is at or near “full employment.” And the problem is particularly severe in the Midwest and rural America. “If you’re smiling, we’re hiring,” advertises an Arby’s restaurant in Mason City, Iowa the Journal notes.

So what to do about this situation? The real question is how best to increase the pool of workers, the fastest, rather than eliminate existing jobs.

First, begin to fix our broken immigration system which currently keeps too many eager individuals from fully contributing and exercising their talents here in America. President Trump and Congress must come together and reach a permanent solution for the Dreamers who came to the United States as children and know no other country as home. Freedom Partners recently renewed our call for a solution, along with our grassroots allies.

Freedom Partners will continue to make permanency for Dreamers a high priority until President Trump and Congress find common ground and provide a permanent solution.

Second, employers need to take another look at their hiring practices and consider “banning the box,” which delays until late in the interview and hiring process asking potential employees if they have a criminal record. Approximately one in three Americans has a criminal record – about the same number of college graduates in the U.S. It’s foolhardy to try to fill out a staff while eliminating these people from consideration right off the bat.

Many of these individuals already paid their dues and deserve a fresh start. Unfortunately, they are less likely to be seriously considered as job candidates by employers who often don’t even read through an entire application once they see a criminal record. Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has challenged our business members to adopt a ban the box policy. All employers should, on a voluntary basis, revisit their recruiting and hiring practices to ensure they consider all Americans.