The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Some people just don’t want a job

Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

“They want someone who shows up for work, who can pass a drug and alcohol test and who has basic reading and math skills,” she says. “It sounds easy, but it’s not.”

Ron Clutter owns Nordic Air in Harpersfield Township, which employs more than 200 persons, the majority of them from Ashtabula County. Clutter says hiring reliable hourly employees is a challenge due to two issues: drug use and absenteeism.

To encourage hourly workers to simply show up for work, Nordic Air offers workers quarterly attendance bonuses averaging about $1,000 each. Despite the incentive, employees still fail to come to work, and eventually lose their bonuses – and good-paying jobs.

The company’s mandatory, random, surprise drug testing further narrows the field. Clutter invests up to $100,000 per year on drug testing to ensure a drug-free workforce and safe environment. Both temporary and long-term employees are tested – even his mother, an office worker, is tested. If there is a problem, the company helps workers get counseling.

“We don’t force you out of a job,” he says. “We will go to the N-th degree to project our good employees.”

Even so, Clutter knows if he were to randomly pick 100 applicants from the pool of people who have applied for hourly jobs, only a third would make the cut because of substance-abuse and attendance issues.

“These are the main two reasons why people are not working here,” Clutter says. “You would not believe the amount of absenteeism. If you can’t come to work, I can’t help you increase your wages and I can’t help you pay off your debts.”

1
Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video