Hoosier Opportunity

By DARREL RADFORD
 
News-Gazette Managing Editor
 
          Hoosier opportunities are knocking – for both job-seekers and employers. And Randolph County has played a part with installing the door that promises to unlock a new path connecting each like never before.
          Recently, Randolph County Economic Development officials unveiled the Hoosier Opportunity website where companies in a three-county area can post positions free of charge – and where applicants from anywhere can create a profile, upload a resume, search for and apply for careers in targeted industry sectors commonly found in Randolph, Jay and Wayne counties.
          The website – located at www.hoosieropportunity.com – offers a personalized approach that creates better opportunities for employers and employees to connect in the region.
          “We love the diversity of this website,” Randolph County EDC Director Bruce Hosier said. “You’re not only looking to meet the demands of the current workforce here but you’re also reaching out to those folks who may have left Randolph County and are now looking to come back. We think it’s going to be a dynamic tool for workforce development.”
          Companies have many options in getting the word out about their open positions. They can even post a video in their profile. Positions posted much pay at least $10 an hour.
          Job seekers will be able to create their own profile, choose industry sectors of interest and upload their resume. They can apply for positions directly on the website and receive regular email updates on new positions.
          And Valerie Shaffer, president of the Wayne County EDC, says new jobs are, indeed available.
          “There are hundreds of jobs available in our three-county area as new companies open, existing companies expand and Baby Boomers begin to retire,” she said. “Businesses think regionally and we need to as well when it comes to helping them find qualified workers they need. Together, the three counties who are linked via U.S. 27 have access to the workforce needed to meet current and future demands of our employers.”
          Reaction to the new website by local officials was positive – with a capital ‘P.’
          “The website has a great look to it,” Monroe Central School Corp. Supt. Adrian Moulton said. “It’s well organized. I think it’s something that will really benefit the people of Randolph County. I’m excited to get Monroe Central on there. We’ve got some openings and we also want to get the word out to our students and our graduates that there’s a local site that will let them know what’s going on here.”
          Union City, Ind. Mayor Bryan Conklin thinks the website will not only be a jobs tool, but an effective way to bring more people into Randolph County.
          “I think the website will give Randolph County a platform to possibly attract people who aren’t living here,” he said. “The gentleman in the video from Darke County who found the website through social media and said he wanted to relocate back to the area so he could take care of his mom and dad – these are the kinds of unique opportunities that are going to come our way.”
          Randolph Central School Corp. Supt. Dr. Greg Hinshaw says the website can provide the best of both worlds – especially for students in the advanced manufacturing courses now offered at Winchester Community High School.
          “They can take those skills and go right into the workforce,” Hinshaw said. “At the same time, we have a lot of jobs in our school system that pay more than $10 an hour and we find increasingly that it’s a challenge for us to fill some of our positions. I could see us posting some jobs on this site.”
Applicants “from anywhere” can create a profile, upload a resume, search for and apply for careers in targeted industry sectors commonly found in the three counties. Soon a mobile app will also be available for the site, allowing users easy smart-phone access as well.
          Chris Culy of Culy Construction and Power Services in Winchester, likes the team approach behind the website.
          “I like the idea of it being in a partnership with the three counties together,” he said. “That’s going to be a springboard to help much faster than individual counties trying to do it themselves.”
          The unique website, which Hosier says cost Randolph County only $1 per person in EDC funding (the website is free to use) “is a great investment.” Already, it’s been featured on the state’s popular Inside Indiana Business webpage as well as in the Indiana Business Journal.
          “This is going to make the human resources part of your business a lot easier,” said Anastasia Mihailov, the REDC’s grant administrator and community development director. “Students who graduate here, then move away may find opportunities here that could bring them back home.”

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