EDITORIAL: Regional approach needed for jobs

They have popped up across the landscape – help wanted signs.

North Okanagan employers have put out the call for employees but many vacancies are going unanswered. That, unfortunately, has forced some businesses, particularly in the service sector, to reduce hours.

Currently on the Community Futures job board, the postings include 24 for administration, 36 for trades and transportation, 60 for sales and 10 for health.

“We’ve hit a cycle where the supply side is not meeting the demand side,” said Community Futures’ Kim Lauritsen.

Community Futures is tackling the current crisis with a regional focus by offering workshops, including turning retail jobs into careers and one focused at Generation Y.

However, other approaches to finding workers are following tired, old jurisdictional boundaries.

Specifically, the City of Vernon is developing a website that can act as a resource for people looking to move to Vernon, as well as an ambassador program that focuses on welcoming and connecting newcomers to Vernon.

That’s all good, but what about the communities outside of Vernon that are struggling to find workers? Many of them employ Vernon residents, plus businesses elsewhere in the region purchase supplies from merchants in Vernon. The city doesn’t operate in isolation from the world around it.

Now is the time for the City of Vernon to bring together the other municipalities and the Regional District of North Okanagan to find a common approach to filling the gap many employers are facing.

If a broad-based initiative doesn’t occur, expect to see more help wanted signs showing up.