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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Northeastern Indiana HR problem: Saying no to college grads


Half of today's recent college grads cannot find work.
There is not a labor shortage or labor deficiency with the workforce in Indiana or anywhere else.  There is a perception problem between small business owners, the current objectives of human resource professionals and the actual workforce of available, qualified college graduates.

The CNN Money article, Northeast Indiana: Hundreds of factory jobs go unfilled, addresses the labor issue but I would love to get a definition of  "a good fit". What does a Northeastern Indiana factory worker have to know that a college graduate does not know or cannot be trained to do?

This problem of not wanting to hire college graduates is not new, however it has yet to be work shopped or have an in-service or two dedicated to the issue. Human resource professionals understand  the needs of workforce groups but especially in a small business setting, rules come from the top down and what the boss says goes. Often in a small business situation, the human resource point person may not have completed  accredited coursework within the human resources field.

The Small Business Association defines a small business as a manufacturing company that has 500 to 1500 employees and have annual receipts not exceeding $2.5 to $21.5 million. One of the companies profiled in this article has 115 employees.

Companies say they are "getting hundreds of applicants," but those applicants are "not the right fit" or unqualified. If an applicant cannot pass the drug test, it is understandable they cannot be hired. However someone has to qualify the phrase, "not the right fit."

Is it a good fit when the small business owner has to pay double overtime to existing workers because 10 percent of available slots go unfilled based on the fact that the workplace environment they provide, would not be suitable for a college graduate?

Maybe they should look at their workplace environment. A college grad would happily cut their teeth at any job and learn good work habits if those habits are in place and exist.

Just think of all of the bright minds and potential innovation a college graduate can bring to a business that wrong thinking is deflecting.

Twenty percent of adult Hoosiers 25 and older have a bachelor's degree or more, according to the 2000 Census. They, according to some manufacturing companies, would not be a good fit for employment. Is this a sensible thought?


Fort Wayne Indiana is in Allen County. Demographic information from 2010 states that of the 223,089 residents over the age of 25 in Allen County, 70,572 have a high school diploma or GED and 39,680 have a college degree. That means 17.78 percent in that county potentially will not be hired for manufacturing jobs because they are not a good fit.

Mishawaka is in St. Joseph County. Their 2010 demographic information states that of the 169,943 residents over the age of 25, 56,842 have a high school diploma or GED. Degree holders comprise 15.87 percent of the demographic but they are "not a good fit" either.


Almost 18 percent of the demographic in Allen County and nearly 16 percent in St. Joseph County are not a good fit for small business manufacturers in eastern Indiana because they are college graduates. Maybe these applicants are not a good fit because no one will hire them.


As far as unemployed people not accepting certain positions, if the factory job pays less than the unemployment benefit amount and the person can still pay their COBRA premium, it is simple economics. How many times is this scenario actually occurring?

Small business manufacturers need to rethink their hiring process and fill those slots with willing and able workers -- even if those workers are college graduates.
blog post by Leslie Jones McCloud

 Is paying triple overtime a good economic plan? Hire a grad today!






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