Council to take a look at workforce

Thrive Allen County will help local governments take a look at the county's quality and quantity of the workforce as part of a labor study.



August 25, 2021 - 9:12 AM

Allen County’s workforce will be under the microscope in the coming days.

Thrive Allen County’s Jonathan Goering discussed Monday with Iola City Council members a planned labor study.

“Allen County has long needed a detailed labor study to focus on the quantity and quality of the local workforce,” Goering said.

A better understanding of the health and well-being of its labor force benefits all of Allen County, from existing businesses needing to make decisions about potential expansions, to prospective companies considering a move to Allen County, Goering said.

Goering has proposals from three groups, ranging in price from $18,714 to $25,000.

He was at Monday’s Council meeting to ask the city to chip in $1,500 toward the study.

Another $8,000 will come from Evergy, the state’s largest utility. 

On Tuesday, he approached Allen County commissioners to fund the remaining balance.

Data gathered will focus on a number of data points, including the number of employed, unemployed and retired workers, students, homemakers and others, as well as industry characteristics and population trends.

Additionally, the study will look at such things as job satisfaction, how far residents are willing to commute for higher-paying jobs and skill sets.

Goering noted recent U.S. Census data gives a snapshot of Allen County, but the study is “a far more targeted approach. This is far more useful.”

Likewise, a local labor study would trump state data as well.

Goering assured council members the results of the study would be put to good use, and not “collect dust” on a shelf once complete..

THRIVE’S request sparked a brief debate amongst the Iola Council members, who supported learning about the workforce, but were leery of what may be discovered.

“Is it possible, in this day and age, that such a study could hurt us?” Councilman Ron Ballard asked. “When we have people that don’t really want to work, is that going to appeal” to prospective companies?