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Employer Response to Market Outlook Questions

Near the completion of the face to face interview, the GCDF interviewer posed a series of open-response questions to the employer. The questions pertained to the employer’s perceptions concerning economic development, education and training, and leadership. The overall responses are summarized over the next several pages. Note that the data presented in each table is an abbreviated version of the total response.

Response to:
In general, what types of companies or industries are needed to help the regional economy?

  • Employers were generally not very specific as to the types of companies needed in eastern Kentucky (i.e., “auto assembly plant”).
  • A plurality of employers said that manufacturing jobs are needed in the region.
  • Energy-related industries, including coal and mining were also frequently mentioned.
  • Employers in the Healthcare and Mining sectors were more likely to mention their own industries.

 

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Response to:
What types of services or resources are needed to help your company retain its best employees? This would include employees at all levels.

  • Nearly 50% of all employers mentioned things related to compensation, including increased pay, enhanced benefits, retirement packages, etc.
  • Items related to job skills training were mentioned by 31% of employers. Those in construction were more likely to mention this.
  • Education-related suggestions, including resources and financial assistance were mentioned by those in the Healthcare and General Business categories.

 

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Response to:
What should businesses in Eastern Kentucky do to improve and generate more business activity in the region?

  • A wide variety of responses were provided to this question.
  • Nearly one in four employers suggested items relating to economic development activities.
  • Collaboration-related activities were mentioned by 25% of those in the Healthcare sector.
  • Those in the Construction industry were more likely than others to mention diversification of business and training/education.

 

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Response to:
Think about the leadership in Eastern Kentucky. What positive examples, in terms of companies or individuals, can you identify?

  • No individual or group was mentioned by more than 10% of the total sample.
  • Employers were likely to mention various political leaders and regional businesses as examples.

 

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Response to:
What changes in leadership are needed in Eastern Kentucky?

  • Over one in five employers mentioned changes related to ethics, including acting with honesty.
  • Collaboration-related actions were mentioned to nearly the same degree and included working as a team and increased community involvement.

 

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Response to:
What can individual citizens do to help the region increase business activity and generally prosper?

  • A plurality of employers were likely to mention actions related to citizen participation and involvement, even if these were in non-specific terms such as “stay plugged in” and “volunteer.”
  • Employers also encourage citizens to buy and trade locally.
  • One in five employers recommend that people increase their level of education and/or get additional training.
  • One in five employers also mentioned things related to improved ethics.

 

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Response to:
What advice do you have for academic institutions which are preparing people to join the workforce over the next 5 years? By academic institutions, we mean high school, technical school, community colleges, and universities.

  • 31% mentioned specific programs that should be offered. Most frequently mentioned in this area were programs related to ethics.
  • 29% of employers indicated that academic institutions should help to promote education.
  • 16% of the employers mentioned things pertaining to increased vocational training.

 

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Response to:
Finally, if you were starting over and preparing to enter the workforce again, what would you do differently in terms of your education and skills development?

  • Over 40% of the employers said that they would have obtained more formal education, including advanced degrees.
  • Closely related, 35% said they would have placed more value on getting an education.

 

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