Our Vision for Filling the Skills Gap

Jul 18, 2023

By Chad Delligatti, InnoSource Chief Executive Officer

All great business leaders have great vision and ambition. But the truly exceptional ones, I’ve learned, see their business not only as a vehicle to drive revenue and empower employees, but to bring meaningful change to the broader community. Many of us at InnoSource have been thinking about that a lot lately, in no small part because of our own big vision: Addressing the skills gap of individuals wanting to improve themselves and to find a great job in America — and particularly in central Ohio. We want to connect individuals who are able and willing with the skills needed to begin a great career positioning them for future growth and opportunities. 
This skills gap came to our attention about four or five years ago. It felt like a constant buzz around me and some of our key leaders. We were hearing it from our clients, peers, friends and colleagues. 
The gap does not appear to be going away. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report on America’s labor shortage, noting that workforce participation is still well below pre-pandemic levels, with nearly 2 million fewer Americans working now than were working in February of 2020. 
That translates to real-life issues. Companies can’t find enough skilled people to fill their open jobs. And there are plenty of people who want to work, but who can’t get a position because they lack something critical — basic work and technical skills, maybe, or transportation. Maybe they don’t have internet access at home or don’t understand the basics of how to interview for a job. 
I have seen organizations across our region trying to untangle this, and I know that, even if in a small way, I want our company help. Helping people find meaningful careers and helping companies find high-quality employees is, after all, at the heart of what we do. 
For the last few years, we’ve been working to develop not only a program that addresses the gaps, but goals and measurements that will let us know if we are successful in connecting people with open jobs. 
As part of the program, we’re thinking about in-depth training and technical skills development targeted to specific industries where we know workforce gaps exist. Many of those industries include companies that are InnoSource clients, and we intend to work closely with those companies to make sure the people in this program have the exact skills they need to perform well in their future jobs. 
We’re also thinking about soft skills like a firm handshake, appropriate interview attire, and making eye contact. We’re considering ways to provide transportation, on-the-job support for new hires, and computer skills that can give applicants a leg up on getting a good job. And we’re thinking about how we might measure success — in people trained, people hired, people still on the job six months to a year down the road. 
I think we’re getting close, and I’m looking forward to sharing more details soon. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to consider your own business, and to think about the big goals you might pursue. 
How are you handling workforce issues within your own organization? How might your individual company goals align with broader goals to help your company flourish? 
Many people look to those of us in leadership and assume we have all the answers. I have a lot of confidence, but even I would say that is just, simply, not the case. I honestly can say I wasn’t certain about much when I started in this business. But I did know a few things: One, I would work harder than any of my competitors had even dreamed of working. And two, I would set ambitious goals. 
I think in the absence of certainty, it benefits us all — leaders, employees, and the communities in which they live and work — to think big and avoid becoming easily discouraged. When we think that way, we can make a big impact. What a powerful thing. 
I’d love to hear more about your big ambitions and about the impact you are seeking to make in your communities. I hope you’ll share those aspirations with me soon. 
Until then, let’s think about how we might harness all of our leadership skills for good. With commitment and focus we can accomplish anything.