Cities work to remain competitive in job market - FOX29 Lake Charles

Cities work to remain competitive in job market

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SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

New job growth in the Lake Area means employers must stay competitive in order to recruit and retain a strong workforce. The same goes for cities that are always looking for help in public works.

"In public works, we are losing operators to industry," said Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan, "Equipment operators, definitely we're losing."

Of the city of Sulphur's 251 employees, more than 100 are in public works positions. Currently, there are eight vacancies.

"People leave the city to go work a construction job," said Public Works Director Mike Daigle.

Some employees see greener pastures in the construction industry. Often, the starting salary of construction jobs is much higher than what the city can offer, but Daigle points out that those positions aren't perfect.

"There's no benefits associated with those types of jobs," he said. "And when it rains they don't work, they don't get paid."

Some employees who've left for construction positions have seen those projects come to an end and are left once again looking for a job. Daigle said some of those former city workers have come back asking to be hired again. He said if the proper protocol and a two weeks notice weren't given the first time around, then those employees are ineligible to work at the city again.

Daigle is hoping to slow down the turnover and stop employees from leaving by showing off the benefits of a city job.

"Flexible working hours, health insurance is 100 percent paid for the employee," he listed, among other things.

While the public works jobs start at $9 during a 90 day probationary period, depending on performance, employees can receive a quick promotion. Also, like other city employees, those in the public works department, receive an annual 2 percent raise.

"Laborers, grass cutters, pipe repairers, equipment operators and drivers - we need those kind of people," Daigle said.

As the city works to fill its 8 vacancies, it's also working on ways to make those positions more attractive to job seekers. Duncan said be on the lookout for those change very soon.

KPLC also reached out to the city of Lake Charles about public works positions.The administration has passed salary increases in the last several years to recruit workers and reduce turnover and we're told it's working.

Right now, Lake Charles has 15 full-time vacancies out of its 375 total public works positions.

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