CLEVELAND – Businesses in almost every field seem to be struggling to recruit enough talent, and labor shortages are affecting businesses across the country and here in Northeast Ohio. The new Global Cleveland report seeks to address this issue by emphasizing the need for international candidates to be given more consideration for positions for which they are more than qualified.
The Where Workers Report calls on local businesses to tackle the shortage of talent and manpower by following four main steps – the first being to hire international talent.
Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, said there are three different groups of international workers looking for work in the area.
“Every year, we have more than 35,000 full-time people coming to our colleges, universities, who are really learning their profession and their skills here,” Cimperman said. “How do we keep these people here who work in our companies and work in other places where we know we lack talent?”
Cimperman also drew attention to the thousands of refugees in Northeast Ohio looking for work, as well as to individuals who have moved here from another country simply out of desire. In all three cases, these individuals are looking for opportunities they simply do not receive.
“We know that every single company is currently looking for workers. They are here. They want to stay here. So how can global Cleveland help these companies and those engineering companies in these manufacturing cities to make it easier for them to hire these international people,” Cimperman said. “The job we do is to make people who are amazing visible. It’s such invisibility.”
The feeling of invisibility is something experienced by many international newcomers to the area, including Bakht Zaman, an Afghan asylum seeker living in Cleveland.
Zaman arrived in northeastern Ohio from Afghanistan in August last year after the situation in the country changed and it was no longer safe to stay there. While working for the United States mission, Zaman’s threats prompted him to go to the U.S., land in Virginia, but go to Cleveland, where he already had some friends.
“Fortunately, I currently consider Cleveland as my second home and enjoy my life,” Zaman said. “There are a lot of challenges, though.”
Challenges such as finding a job that takes advantage of his skills and allows him to support his family here in the country and his parents at home.
“Finding a job, finding a suitable job is quite demanding. I graduated from the University of Delhi, MBA from an American university. And I have 11 years of experience in project management, monitoring and evaluation of projects at international organizations, but I have been trying to find a suitable one for the last 10 months. job, but I failed, ”Zaman said.
It is not that there are no jobs or that there are few vacancies, Zaman knows this thanks to all the applications he has submitted.
“I applied for almost more than 200 vacancies, but I didn’t get any positive response from almost 99 percent of them. I got some positive responses from some organizations. But it was just like it looked like a formality.” said Zaman. .
Zaman is not alone. Cimperman drew attention to the recruitment process followed by some companies, and mentioned websites that exclude international applications from their search.
“Remove things from your sites that say no international sign-ups today, for example, if we really want to be such a nice place. Let’s see who’s out there,” Cimperman said. “These are people who pay taxes, send their kids to school, build businesses that employ people born in the United States. And these are people who are even more important, who are neighbors, who are sisters and brothers that bring a different corner of the world here. “
The Global Cleveland report calls on companies to involve international workers in their efforts for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to help make better use of their range of skills and competences in the workforce in all areas of employment.
“Our goal is for this study to make people realize that work is here for them, and companies that realize that this talent is here for them to be able to come here and make their American dream come true,” Cimperman said. We just need our companies now in our corporate community to say we’re going to look at that person – don’t risk that person, but look at that person and check, ‘do they fit our company?’ If they do, we will give them a chance to work here. We are confident that if more companies do it, it will greatly improve our whole community for all. For both immigrants and people born. “
For people like Zaman, she hopes this study will help companies in the area see that international candidates are not only qualified for initial jobs or manual jobs, but can contribute with skills they have learned outside the country to help it succeed.
“Most people say the United States is a land of opportunity, and rightly so – but it’s a land of opportunity for Americans, not a land of opportunity for newcomers,” Zaman said. “It’s one of the things Cleveland is the best place, but when it comes to finding a job, it’s quite challenging for novices, refugees.”
Cimperman, meanwhile, said Global Cleveland intends to hold talks with Cleveland-based companies to further discuss the report and hopefully work to make international candidates more respected for the jobs they fill – not for charity but in favor of both. The Cleveland workforce and those who want to enter it.
“People who come here come from places where they may have been a nurse or they may have been an engineer. They may have been caregivers or they may have been teachers. They have skills,” Cimperman said. “And the mistake we make as Americans is to look at refugees and immigrants and think of them as charitable examples. Okay, maybe they need our help right now, who among us hasn’t needed help at some point in their lives?” But the truth is, they have a lot of talent and they have a lot of gifts, and they want to do that here. So why not make it easier for them to make our whole lives better? “
To read the report and learn more about the Global Cleveland initiative, click here.
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