According to figures released by Workforce West Virginia, as of May 2015 the state showed dramatic improvements in it’s unemployment levels as the state’s major industries are working to rebuild the workforce after the recession of 2008-09. A growing workforce bodes very well for the recruiters, hiring managers, training specialists and other human resources professionals responsible for filling a growing number of high-skilled jobs in the state.
Harrison County Chamber of Commerce President, Kathy Wagner is one who looks to the future with optimism. She reported to WDTV news in May 2015 that jobs are available for those who what to work in the state. Assistant Director of Research and Information, Joseph Jarvis agreed with her. He pointed to typical seasonal declines in the first quarter and potential increases as the summer months roll around with new jobs in construction and highway road repair expected.
All total, in 2014 there were 36,701 employers managing multiple locations and 45,646 additional employers with a single location throughout West Virginia. The major employers in West Virginia are also those that rely most heavily on human resource teams to staff their organizations with skilled workers.
Beyond the service and manufacturing sectors, West Virginia’s top employers are in the healthcare and energy sectors, and include such companies as:
- West Virginia United Health System
- Charleston Area Medical Center
- Mylan Pharmaceuticals
- Murry American Energy
- Mary’s Medical Center
- Mentor Management, Inc.
- Res-Care, Inc.
Careers in Human Resources in West Virginia
HR managers and specialists are vital frontline company representatives that support organizational goals by allocating the right talent in the right place. Typical descriptors found in job descriptions for human resource professionals include:
- Ability to identify the right candidates for recruitment
- Ability to negotiate terms and conditions of salary, benefits, and contracts
- Ability to understand complex tactical plans and organizational strategies
- Keen attention to details
- Ability to oversee employee grievances by employing counseling and legal strategies
Human Resources Careers in State Government
Human resource jobs are available at most government agencies. In West Virginia at the state level there are many agencies and boards that require HR assistance. For instance, the Department of Administration staffs several HR positions including:
- Employee Information / Transaction Processing
- Organizational and Human Resource Development
- Employee Relations
- Classification and Compensation
- Division of Personnel
- Finance/Human Resources
- Client Services
Other government employers in West Virginia with large human resources departmets include:
- Public Service Commission
- School Districts
- Rehabilitation Services
- State Auditor’s Office
- State Treasurer’s Office
- West Virginia Judiciary
- West Virginia Military Authority
- West Virginia State Police
- County Correction Facilities
Human Resources Careers in the Private Sector
The service sector remains the strongest area of employment in West Virginia, accounting for 641,700 jobs, followed by the goods-producing sector at 113,800 jobs.
Below are just a few job descriptions for vacancies as of May 2015 (shown for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute job offers):
HR Generalist III, Alliant Tech Systems, Rocket Center, West VA – This position requires a wide range of human resources generalist functions including workforce planning, acquiring talent, selecting staff, on-boarding, employee development, managing performance, determining and managing compensation program, and employee and labor relations.
Health & Human Resources Program Manager II with the West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health (OMCFH), Charleston, WV – This position includes managing program expenditures for vision, dental, hearing, and other areas and coordinating with OMCFH programs. The HR program manager would develop, plan, evaluate and implement statewide policies and oversee the provision of a complex health service program within Medicaid programs. This includes formulating plans, programs, systems and procedures for efficient operations. The manager would also review changes in health policy and regulations and make modifications. The job would also involve assuring compliance with all state and federal regulations related to Medicaid health services.
Human Resources Manager Industrial Bags, Wellsburgh, WV – The manager would be in charge of managing recruitment efforts including working with hiring managers and determining staffing needs for all employees. The position would also involve:
- Posting jobs available through proper channels
- Coordinating employment screenings and interview processes
- Participating in the new-hire selection process, completing on-boarding training and processing for all new-hires including coordinating background checks, drug screening, and other pre-hire needs
- Processing new-hire’s ADP administration information
- Processing employee benefit packages, compensations, performance evaluation programs, personnel records, unemployment claims and employee training
- Assisting supervisors and managers with any necessary disciplinary actions by reviewing personnel files
- Administering the payroll for (hourly only) employees.
Qualifying for a Career in Human Resources
In an aggressive employment market, new hires entering the HR field will want to position themselves with the proper training. The nature of the job will typically drive the level of education required; the higher one goes in management, the more likely it will be for the position to require a higher degree. Entry-level, associate and lower-level management positions typically demand undergraduate degrees.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Some of the most common degrees in human resources are structured as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). A number of programs are available at campus locations in West Virginia, as well as through distance learning programs and blended programs that combine classroom and online learning.
Just a few of the possibilities include:
- Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Concentration in HR
- Bachelor of Arts Labor/Employment Relations
Courses are divided into two basic segments. The first half of the program is typically comprised of general education courses and the latter half, courses in the major. Core classes typically cover subjects such as:
- Payroll and accounting
- Employee and management relations
- Economic theory
- Methods for decision making
Master’s Degree Programs
Graduate programs are structured as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialized focus in HR management or other specific areas of human resources such as labor relations.
A few program examples include:
- Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resources Management
- The Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
- Master of Science (MS) Educational Human Resources Development
- Master of Science (MS) Human Resources Business
Courses at the graduate level often include:
- Problem solving
- Management techniques
- Language and technology
- Decision making
- Integrated knowledge
- Theory of business applications
Professional HR Certification
There are also several professional HR certificates that many employers look for in job candidates. Each certificate is specific to a level of training and certification and has its own unique requirements.
The certificates that are most often requested include:
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR) – This certification represents the highest level of training in the HR field.
- Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) – The CP certification is available to candidates who are typically in assistant, specialist and lower-level management roles.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – This certification is for the HR professional who reaches top levels of management and typically works in strategic planning areas.
Resources for HR Professionals and Those Aspiring to Enter the Field
Resources are available for HR personnel from a variety of sources. Check with the local chamber of commerce for training seminars available. Local government agencies as well as privately funded and non-profit organizations also provide a good source of information and potential employment opportunities:
- International Public Management Association Human Resources
- West Virginia Chamber of Commerce- Hosts of annual HR Conference
- West Virginia WVCUPA-HR Chapter