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Darts and Laurels: New job portal needed

Laurel to the Rowan County Economic Development Commission for creating a tool to pull job listings from across the internet into one portal for local job seekers.

The portal, available at rowanedc.com/work-in-rowan, was made possible by donations to the Forward Rowan campaign by Johnson Concrete Products and the Salisbury Rowan Community Foundation. Local newspapers (in print and online) have been the best ways to advertise local jobs to local people for decades, particularly when there’s a large number of openings, but employers decided years ago to mostly rely on national and international websites to look for recruits. That’s why a website like the EDC’s jobs portal is needed. It constantly scans publicly posted job listings on sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed and aggregates them in one place. With seemingly more job openings than applicants, it’s particularly good for job seekers who are hoping to stay close to home for their next gig.

Salisbury-Rowan leaders will have trouble changing market forces holding employers back from filling job openings and removing help wanted signs. Local legislators and congressional representatives are unlikely to be persuaded a minimum wage increase is needed and they’re likely to be overruled if they believe the problem is too-large relief packages keeping people out of work who might otherwise be inclined to seek employment.

That’s why it’s most important at the moment to ensure infrastructure exists to easily connect people seeking employment with open opportunities and to publicize it, including to people of various walks of life in the Salisbury-Rowan community. It can be difficult to decide where to turn when looking for a job, particularly for people without connections. The job search may involve asking a friend about openings. If that friend knows about the EDC’s portal, the job seeker will instantly have a valuable resource.

One year into virtual meetings and as capacity limitations have increased, dart to the Salisbury City Council for doing little to nothing in the way of in-person meeting options.

Gov. Roy Cooper last month increased the number of people who may gather indoors to 100. That’s less than the number of people who might show up at a particularly contentious council meeting, but it should give council members plenty of confidence that they can safely return to in-person meetings. Even if the city only allows 50 public attendees, there’s plenty of room in the council chambers to space out chairs.

The council has dealt with a number of heavy issues in the previous year, and virtual meetings have made public participation much harder. People who are not technologically savvy have a difficult time navigating to the Zoom meeting or tuning in via live-streaming video. If a video stream won’t load, tuning in isn’t even possible.

Then, there are people who have limited internet access to begin with. If your only form of internet access is mobile data from a smartphone, it’s hard to choose a Salisbury City Council meeting over other, more important or enjoyable options.

Creating an in-person option may not necessarily require all council members to sit in the Salisbury City Council chambers. Council members who feel uncomfortable could call in or continue to use Zoom software.

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