In a bid to fill open workforce positions, some employers are taking the unusual step of becoming housing developers, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
What’s happening: Companies like medical-device maker JBS USA Holdings Inc. are setting aside acreage or starting programs for affordable employee housing.
- “‘It’s a labor-market issue they’re solving, not a housing-market problem,’ said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.”
How it works: Employer-led housing programs are frequently tied to employment, according to the Journal. An employer-granted rental, for example, “might come with a contract saying that an employee will have some set period of time to vacate the housing if they leave the company.”
Who’s involved: The North American life-sciences unit of Merck KGaA, MilliporeSigma, is providing employees with temporary housing and relocation subsidies.
- The “Move with MilliporeSigma” program gives workers (including hourly employees) who must move for a job a relocation allowance and the cost of a 90-day stay at a hotel.
- “Nearly 400 employees have joined through the program.”
Another company, meatpacker JBS, “worked with local officials and others to identify a builder and a property where it could begin developing homes at a price around $180,000.”
- JBS asks for a two-year commitment from employees who take advantage of its housing program.
The NAM says: “Companies’ increasingly innovative methods of shoring up their workforces highlight the great need we have for talent to fill the country’s many open positions,” said Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee. “They also hammer home the importance of workforce-skilling and recruiting efforts, such asCreators Wanted, manufacturing’s largest campaign to attract the next generation of workers.”