Let’s get started

December 23, 2018 GMT

Gabriel Steinmeyer loves a good challenge.

That was the opening sentence of a recent Daily News article about the new director of workforce development for the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce.

We’re glad he likes a challenge. Because he’s got one.

He knows that. So did Brittney Dawson, his predecessor in the position. So do workforce development coordinators located across Nebraska.

Throughout the state — in large communities and small — businesses and industries are concerned about not having enough qualified applicants for jobs available. That’s what make workforce development efforts so important.

Mr. Steinmeyer has only recently begun his new duties after accepting the position and leaving his previous position as economic development director for the community of Neligh. His familiarity with Northeast Nebraska will help him get up to speed as quickly as possible.

That’s important because workforce development is, by its nature, a long-term challenge and the sooner one gets started, the better.

So, to be clear, here are just some of the aspects workforce development efforts can involve:

— Planting the seeds among younger students that excellent jobs and careers are available in their hometown or region.

— Fostering internship opportunities that match students while still in high school or college with businesses.

— Encouraging businesses and industries to take part in career fairs and similar efforts to educate students on what different jobs and careers involve.

— Marketing a community or region as an attractive place to work and live.

— Helping newcomers to a community make connections so that they feel part of their new hometown as soon as possible.

— Working with local businesses and industries to learn their most pressing workforce needs and then targeting efforts to meet those needs.

So, it will be understandable if Mr. Steinmeyer at times finds himself wondering where to begin. The smart-alecky answer, of course, is all of the above.

Actually, Norfolk business and industry representatives understand the challenges and difficulties with a workforce development effort. They also know that such efforts must be sustained over the long term for goals can be achieved.

So, welcome aboard, Mr. Steinmeyer. Let’s get started.