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More workers, better benefits needed in Carson City

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

The employers are here, but Carson City is lacking trained employees, an economic focus group reported Wednesday afternoon.

Manufacturers are having a hard time finding workers trained for the trades, which leads them to compete with one another, said Bob McCann, a management coach with Leadership Transition Coaching.

The focus group was part of a regional effort to plan for the area’s growth. The focus group was intended to be for major employers in the area, but succeeded in attracting two bankers, the head of the local chamber of commerce and a retired man interested in development.

Northern NVision is a joint study launched to determine and market the economic development assets of the seven rural Northern Nevada counties, which includes Carson City. The focus group section of the project is only the beginning stages of an eight-month process.

“It’s a challenge to get higher skilled, trained blue collar and white collar workers,” McCann said.

He said a new manufacturer comes into town, offers slightly higher wages and takes away the employees from established companies.

Manufacturers also have to compete with the city’s No. 1 employer. Ronni Hannaman, Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said people want to work for the state rather than local business because of its benefits.

“Many businesses cannot provide benefits as good as the state,” she said. “People go to work in the community and have an application into the government to work because it takes a year to get that government job.”

Don Johnson, who works in business development with Greater Nevada Credit Union, said area community colleges are addressing this problem “but it’s going to take a while to catch up.”

According to one retired Carson City resident, small-business owners are having a hard time finding something else – the city offices to obtain all their permits.

“My wife started a store in Carson City and she said there is no one-stop place to go to get all the information on permits and regulations,” said Joe Eiben. “That whole process needs to be streamlined. There needs to be a one-stop shop for everything.”

AngelouEconomics, the project managers, have interviewed many major employers privately, its spokeswoman said. These focus groups and interviews give the project leaders an idea of what the community wants.

“It is imperative for all of us involved in the economic growth in Northern Nevada to listen to the people who live here,” said Ron Weisinger, executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

On the Net

To complete the survey provided by AngelouEconomics to better determine the economic needs of the area, go to http://www.NorthernNVision.org.