By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 8/27/19
HARRISONBURG — Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation, has been reappointed to the Virginia Board of Workforce Development for a second four- year term.
The Virginia Board of Workforce Development is a panel of 38 business leaders and officials that forms policies to improve the state’s workforce.
Bauhan, of Harrisonburg, was originally named to the board by then- Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2015.
“It used to be that a lot of the agencies involved in serving businesses and connecting potential employees to businesses were housed in multiple vacancies scattered around,” he said.
Bauhan and the board worked to combine the smaller specialty workforce locations into centralized “one-stop” locations.
“I think that was one of the more significant things that has occurred over the last four years,” he said.
Bauhan described the workforce landscape as “vast.” “It involves state and federal laws, a number of different funding streams and a large amount of federal dollars,” he said.
The board tries to “align” all of these elements into a cohesive force, Bauhan said.
Bauhan said his experience in agribusiness informs his input on the board. The poultry industry employs about 15,000 Virginians.
Agribusiness needs both skilled and unskilled workers, he said.
“Workforce is one our most critical issues right now,” he said. “We have a high demand for staff to support operations in poultry facilities.”
Automation is also a factor in workforce development the board is wary of, Bauhan said.
“In our industry, automation is replacing some of the harder jobs in the processing pants, but it requires skills and expertise to support that technology,” he said.
Bauhan said he was grateful for the opportunity and thanked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for reappointment to the board.
“Certainly across wide sectors of the economy — manufacturing, food processing, shipbuilding, defense industries — the skills to support them and the technologies being brought to bear is critically needed,” he said.