Study: DuPage Workers Need Basics Employers Cite Lack of Communication, Technical Skills

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Byline: Deedra Lawhead Daily Herald Staff Writer

Some workers in DuPage County may know how to crunch numbers, but they struggle to talk or write about the results.

A study released Wednesday looks at the work force and training needs of DuPage County employers. It found that employees of all skill levels are lacking in some basics: work ethics, problem-solving abilities, written and oral communication skills, customer service, and teamwork.

The review was completed for the Workforce Development Board by the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University.

In DuPage, a lot of those in the job market are displaced, middle-age workers, officials said.

"They really don't have customer-relations skills or communication skills employers want," said Ellen M. Dran, a senior research associate with NIU.

Computer skills, now considered basic by many employers, also are wanting in all levels of workers, but particularly in those who have been laid off or displaced.

"They don't have computer skills and many are afraid to learn them," Dran said.

Besides problems with those basic skills that make employees work-worthy, the study also highlighted problems employers have finding workers with adequate technical training in various trades.

Of all the employers surveyed, 62 percent reported difficulty finding qualified workers with technical skills. Of those employers specifically in the market for that type of worker, 89 percent reported problems finding qualified workers.

Several companies said they are forced to train their current employees in specific jobs. …