Businesses in Paso Robles are having to think outside the box to find workers to fill their job openings. Their new strategies include looking for workers in homeless shelters and even handing out bonuses to employees who can find someone to fill those jobs.
Unemployment rates are low nationwide, including here in San Luis Obispo County.
Paso Robles has around a three percent unemployment rate, and while that's good for workers, businesses are facing challenges.
"Been a struggle over the last few years finding qualified employees in this area. Definitely finding folks who want to come to work, reliable, and hardworking staff," said Jennifer Idler, Human Resources Manager for Idler's Home.
"It's not any single industry that's facing this workforce challenge, it's all our industries," said John Cross, Director of Economic Development for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.
With jobs to fill and not many options to do so, Idler's Home, a company that's been in San Luis Obispo County since 1954, has had to adapt.
"Started looking outside the box for possible positions, people to fill positions that we have. So we have two gentlemen that we've hired that we were able to interview through ECHO," said Don Idler, President of Idler's Home.
Hiring through the ECHO homeless shelter and giving referral bonuses to current employees for any new hires are news ways Idler's Home in Paso Robles has been looking for workers, and they're not alone.
"Offer flexible schedules, so instead of your eight to five could you offer four, 10 hour shifts. Could you offer a shift that would allow people to work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.? Just flexibility in work shifts. The second is to identify set schedules," Cross said.
Cross says this year's State of the North County meeting gave businesses the opportunity to talk about solutions to help solve this workforce crisis.
The big reason behind trying to make changes to the workforce in Paso Robles, Cross says, is to make sure residents have a high quality of life and the opportunity to live in a city they can work in.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are almost 16,000 people in the workforce in Paso Robles, with educational services and healthcare, retail, and manufacturing being some of the largest industries in the area.