Meeting job demands will be challenging
By Ken Esten Cooke— In a way, it’s a blessing to have the problem of too many jobs available for the local market. So many small towns in this slow-recovering economy would love to have this “problem.”
But the issues being addressed by the city, Chamber of Commerce and Gillespie County Economic Development Commission are ones that are real and need some attention.
City Manager Kent Myers addressed them in his report published in last week’s newspaper. He said a working group made up of the three local entities is studying how other tourism-based towns have faced similar situations.
In addition to the many jobs available in our market now, the Gillespie County EDC has predicted that roughly 400 new jobs will be available in our market in the coming two years. That is incredibly positive news, but employers are stymied a bit by what this group sees as the area’s challenges.
The committee addressed five issues:
•The lack of affordable housing;
•A lack of training programs;
•The need for regional transportation options for those who are commuting to the area;
•A lack of available childcare; and,
•That many of our service jobs largely do not meet salary and benefit needs in order for employees to live here.
Affordable housing has been an issue in this community for some time. More apartment complexes may be the answer to this, but investors often see more opportunity elsewhere.
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