Members of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber will now receive free drug testing to help them find qualified candidates for their open positions.
Job openings are at an all-time high. Around the Valley, there are 17,875 job postings. Over half of them are upper-middle-income jobs, paying $50,000 to $79,000 a year.
JobsNOW started three years ago in an effort to fill these open positions. It’s trying to close the gap between the demand for skilled labor and the supply of people ready to work.
Every Tuesday, job openings and industries are featured on WKBN 27 First News’ JobsNOW segment.
But 40 to 60 percent of applicants are failing drug tests.
“What that’s doing is crushing our small businesses, putting them back to the drawing board to search for qualified, capable employees,” said Nick Santucci, with the Regional Chamber.
The job is still open and companies have spent money trying to fill it. The Regional Chamber will now cover the drug test costs for members by working with Steward Health Care.
“We’ve noticed an increase in our drug testing of positive drug screens for employers, which I believe is a big frustration for employers,” said BJ Panshick, with Steward Health.
Steward Health does 10,000 drug screens a year, which can cost up to $50 each. Panshick found the Instant Cup, which tests for 12 drugs.
“If the test is positive, it will immediately light up for us,” she said.
A positive test goes to the lab for confirmation, and that can take a week.
“The cost is probably 90 percent cheaper than a regular drug screen so that we can do more drug screens,” Panshick said.
The Regional Chamber believes this new drug-testing component being added to the JobsNOW program will take it to the next level by encouraging companies to bring more people in for interviews.
“This is not the silver bullet to cure all the woes of the market but, hopefully, we will do a little bit to alleviate that concern for businesses here in the Valley,” Santucci said.
The free drug testing is only available to Regional Chamber members. Businesses may also allow Steward Health to conduct background checks or include additional services at their own expense.
For more information, contact Nick Santucci at 330-744-2131, ext. 1103, or firstname.lastname@example.org.