The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, September 17, 2010


I spoke to a company recently about the difficulty they are having finding entry level manufacturing help. Much has been said about the lack of qualified candidates having the requisite job skills to perform specialized positions available within our region – but it seems strange that no- to low- skilled positions are difficult to fill, also. Another testament to our times would be the employer heard on the radio saying that a job fair to hire 25 employees for $10.00 per hour (as long as they tested negative for drugs) resulted in 10 applicants.

While it is difficult to find work during these economic times, and there are individuals looking long and hard to find jobs that would utilize their abilities, it seems our unemployment system might be de-motivating some in terms of a job search by paying too much for too long. When the last unemployment extension passed Congress, the temporary service that this organization uses could not find qualified employees to fill their entry-level positions (someone actually told the firm that their unemployment benefit had been extended so they no longer needed to work!).

Michigan has a high level of unemployment (which understandably causes a high level of frustration to those legitimately seeking work) but it is very disconcerting when one hears that it is more economically advantageous to access the government system than to accept a position that does not pay very much money. Our country built upon the concept of free enterprise – the belief that a consumer-driven system whose ability to supply should meet or exceed its demands.

When did our country become so adept at giving to individuals according to their needs (or wants) while taking from individuals based on their ability to pay? We tread upon a dangerous path when we choose the one offering no resistance. Do not allow a third party (the Government, in this case) to remove your desire to taste the feast of success by filling you with cheese and crackers before the main course. While snacks are always welcome, they often cause us to lose sight of the meal to which we are entitled.

It is a slippery slope upon which we tread when we embrace the concept of getting something for nothing – for often nothing ventured truly does result in nothing gained!