The keynote speaker in the 28th annual Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum believes there are not enough employees to fill positions and his solution might surprise some.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Henry Florsheim said it is his hope that businesses will take away a better understanding of workforce trends and economic development.
Keynote speaker Mike Randle said he believes the problem with economic development here is the lack of labor and one way to address that he believes is by embracing immigration.
As Mike Randle’s Southern Business and Development Magazine celebrates its 25th year, he’s sharing his knowledge to business owners, big and small, about what he believes are the causes and solutions to economic development.
“We need more people, that’s the biggest economic challenge that we have in this country right now,” Randle said. “Employers cannot find workers.”
Randle suggests to attract more companies to Wichita Falls, business owners should find new ways to attract workers.
“We can embrace immigration, increase it,” Randle said. “Accept slower growth because we don’t have the employees to grow.”
Randle said he also believes that subsidizing fertility is a key factor.
“Each mom and dad gets about $2,000 dollars in a tax credit to have a kid that needs to be $10,000,” Randle said.
Wichita Falls Chamber President, Henry Florsheim emphasizes that workforce development is key.
“If we are going to grow our community we’ve got to focus on enlarging the talent pool so we can help our companies fill the positions they have open today,” Florsheim said.
Florsheim adds that with unemployment in Wichita Falls at 3.3 percent, it is much harder to recruit companies because of the lack of workers, and so it is also important to build a city where more people are willing to stay.
Randle added that there are 7 million jobs available in the country however only 1 million people are looking for jobs.
Also at the forum, the chamber honored Darrell Coleman as the “Wichitan of the Year”.
That is usually awarded to an individual whose actions contribute to the economy of Wichita Falls.