Carroll officials await results of surveys about work force

County hopes to attract more industry, business

March 25, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll's economic development department hopes to turn labor and commuter studies into marketing tools to attract industry, and translate a visitors guide into tourism dollars.

The surveys that detail Carroll's work force should be completed in the spring, and 125,000 copies of the new Visitors Guide will be circulating by early summer, John T. "Jack" Lyburn Jr., director of economic development, told Carroll commissioners last week.

"The labor study will show what jobs are available here and at what salaries, and what skills ... our employees have," Lyburn said. "The commuter study will tell us where people are going for jobs and why. Both will help us show prospective companies our labor force."

The guide will show what Carroll has to offer tourists, he said. Advertising dollars paid for the 32-page booklet, published by the county Tourism Council.

Once the commissioners review the survey results in May, Lyburn plans a public presentation to dispense the information on destinations, occupations, education levels, job skills and related labor statistics. The data might attract business and industry to the county, which has an industrial tax base of about 12.5 percent, the lowest in the metropolitan area.

The county paid about $28,000 for the commuter study conducted by graduate students at the University of Baltimore. The university is compiling information from 800 households chosen randomly and contacted by telephone.

Callers responded to queries about how far, how long and where they drive for work; how they feel about the commute; and whether they have options to telecommute. They also were asked whether the county offers sufficient employment opportunities for professional workers.

"We feel we will be able to extrapolate from the data, as it is representative of the county," said Denise Beaver, deputy director of economic development.

Carroll has a work force of about 85,000. A study conducted about 15 years ago found that nearly 60% of residents who work left Carroll daily for their jobs, she said.

Towson University will report and analyze the results of a labor study mailed to more than 300 county employers last month. The university's fee is $6,500.

About 90 companies have returned the five-page questionnaires that asked for details about skills of job applicants as well as labor demand and availability.

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