Paul Contris Interview [June 2017] – Transcripts

Industry Specific Training – Companies Not Able to Fill Positions

Katherine: Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining us today on This Needs To Be Said. Our friend, Paul Contris is joining us as we talk about business topics. And today we’re going to touch on industry specific training, continual education, and some of what’s been in the news lately is companies are not able to fill positions because they’re running into people not being fully qualified or willing to work. Welcome back Paul how are you?

Paul Contris: I’m well. How are you Katherine?

Katherine: I’m doing fine. Let’s start with that last topic first. As far as people, companies not being able to find qualified or willing workers, I’m wondering what that is about, and I wonder what your take is on that.

Paul Contris: Yeah, I mean I guess the new labor secretary Alex Acosta was just quoting some statistics related to that. Apparently 95% of all CEOs interviews right now are saying they are having a challenge filling all of their job openings. And apparently there’s approximately 6 1/2 million job openings, vacancies right now in the country. And so it’s, and there’s a lot of people looking for jobs. Now we are at an all-time low for employment. I guess we’re at 4.3% which is the lowest it’s been since 2001 or something. But there is that other unemployment measure which includes people who are kind of off the data or kind of sitting on the sidelines right now. I guess that’s 8.4%. So there’s enough people out there to fill those 6 1/2 million jobs, I guess the trick is to match those people up with those openings. A lot of it has to do with the qualifications and skill levels that are required in those positions.

Katherine: Mm-hmm (Yes).

Paul Contris: And that’s one thing I guess they are, you know the new administration is now talking about, trying to promote different programs including more apprenticeships that don’t require necessarily four year degrees, more vocational training, that type of thing. So it’s interesting that there’s still a lot of people looking for work, but there’s also a lot of employers out there looking for those people. And it’s just a matter of kind of bringing them together.

Katherine: When I was in high school Paul, they talked a lot about the jobs that we should be preparing for. In the future they’ll have a lot of computer jobs or whatever jobs, nursing, or. You know they told us a projection of where we needed to go and get educated. Do you think that part may be missing? I know we’re speculating. I’m in some of this. But do you think that maybe that’s what’s missing as kids are graduating high school and preparing to go to college or not? They don’t have a track like I had that said, “Hey if you take these classes it will lead to this career.” Do you think that’s what’s missing? That’s what I’m feeling like.

Paul Contris: Yeah, I’m sure that’s a big part of it. That’s a very good point that there’s kind of a disconnect of, between the world of academia and the real job world. You know, so I think anything schools can do to kind of be more specific about the job opportunities out there. And provide more practical and specific training for that.

Katherine: Mm-hmm (Yes).

Paul Contris: I think there are definitely sectors out there, my sector the healthcare sector is one of them. It’s very hot. There’s a lot of, it’s probably one of the fasted growing sectors, industries out there. So I think people in general kind of know what the different areas are, but yeah I do think there is probably a lack of real kind of direct specific direction when you’re in school trying to figure out what you want to do, which direction you want to go.

Katherine: Yeah. I’m just thinking how it was just structured, it seems like we have so many more choices for our young people that may not be making any choices in that in itself is a challenge. Now this apprenticeship sounds like it is being proposed to be a shorter time. Is that going to compromise the knowledge that is needed to, I’m wondering, to get the job done? Especially in the healthcare industry. Or are they realizing that they were, that these programs that we had out here had too much other stuff in it that it’s necessary for it to be as long. Because if you have positions that need skilled professionals in it, and someone has to go to school for four years or longer to fill those positions, that’s furthering the gap between the employer getting the qualified staff that they need. Is that making sense what I’m asking?

Paul Contris: I guess that would be the challenge for these new programs is to make sure that the training that they’re providing is sufficient for the openings that need to be filled.

Katherine: Mm-hmm (Yes).

Paul Contris: I’m sure in a perfect world that would work out just right. But-

Katherine: Right. Mm-hmm (Yes).

Paul Contris: Yeah, that’s a good question.

Katherine: Yeah, I’m curious to see how that plays out. Because things have changed as far as people deciding what track to go on to leave high school, go to college, get a good job, there’s so many alternatives out here and then we’re finding that the areas where we do need people, we need people in the healthcare industry, we need people in the education industry, we need people in these particular positions, and I think everybody, not say everybody that’s big and broad right? But I think a lot of people have decided to go their own way and maybe we’ve gotten a little bit selfish, we’re not thinking about giving back. We’re just going to do our own thing and that doesn’t seem to be working out for some pockets in the world where we need that help. Especially in the medical industry.
I would not like to have a loved one just kind of dangling out there and they don’t have anybody to care for them, or not enough people to tend to their needs. And in education, if we don’t have enough teachers, that furthers the gap there. So I want to talk a little bit about continuing education since we’re on that. For those who have decided what area there going to expand their career in? How important is continuing education? Is it you’ve gone through and you’ve decided what career you are going to be in, and you’re good? or should you go to these workshops? Should you go often? Or what is your take on that as far as people in their careers and continuing education?

Paul Contris: Well I certainly encourage it. I guess it depends on what it is they’re trying to achieve and the quality of the program, but I think everything that I’m seeing and reading now is that the pace of developing technology and the accessed information, and the pace of change in all industries is taking place at much more rapidly than it has in the past. And so I think kind of the common wisdom now is that this is a new age. You know like 20, 30, 40 years ago you could get a four year degree and in whatever, computer science, accounting, whatever, and then you’re set. That’s your career for the next 30, 40 years.

Katherine: Mm-hmm (Yes).

Paul Contris: And that’s really not necessarily the case anymore. Now you’ve got to be ready to adapt. You’ve got to be kind of willing to continually educate yourself and learn and expand through your whole career. Now that sounds kind of, one the one hand you associate education there’s some drudgery, there’s like, “Oh my God, what does that mean? I got to go to … I thought went to college and that was it.”

Katherine: Right.

Paul Contris: But I think if you look at it in a positive way, you’re learning new things. Variety is the spice of life you know. Do you really want to be kind of slogging away in the same rut for 30 or 40 years when … ? Some people maybe embrace it, some people I guess a lot of us we don’t like change. Especially the older we get, we don’t like change.

Katherine: Just leave thing the way they are. Right.

Paul Contris: But that’s a good point, I think continuing education is becoming more and more critical to survive in this, in the marketplace in this day in age.

Katherine: I’d like to add to that cross training as well. I was on a job once and if a person’s duty was to let’s say stuff envelopes, if they were out we couldn’t get that job done because nobody else knew how to stuff the envelopes. And it drove people nuts. So it was like either people weren’t taking vacations, couldn’t be sick, or it was like we’re back logged until they come back. It was like the system broke down. But if you’re cross trained, not just on a job, but then across industries, maybe you are a CNA, but you also know how to pass medication or fill out paperwork, or do home health care. You know how to do multiple things in your industry. You still get to do what you enjoy doing, but then you are more flexible and you can fill in. Because that would drive us nuts. It was literally things stopped. So that person went on vacation and a department would close down basically. So you’re at work and you can’t go but so far because this person went on vacation and I thought that was bananas.
So cross training I think would be good. If I said cross promotion I didn’t mean that. But cross training would be beneficial. But then a company and across industries as well, that opens up a lot of opportunities. So that’s a positive way to look at it.
Paul, thank you so much for being here, our times goes so fast when we’re together, but let people know about your company and how they can get in touch with you outside of This Needs To Be Said please.

Paul Contris: Yes, the best way is through our website, And that’s W-E-L-C-O-V dot com. And thank you Katherine it’s always a pleasure.

Katherine: All right. Until next time have a wonderful day.

Paul Contris: Thank you.