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Conference will clue in employers

It's a dicey time to be an employer.

From dealing with workplace substance abuse and increasingly complex legal issues to finding ways to attract and keep top employees in a tight job market, business owners and human resource professionals have their hands full.

That's why the Oregon Employer Council -- a nonprofit group formed by private-sector employers -- is holding a conference Sept. 22-24 at the Riverside Inn in Grants Pass.

The program is designed by employers for employers, says Marney Roddick of the Oregon Employer Council. (Employers) decided what they thought were the hot topics.

The conference includes sessions on substance abuse, staff recruitment, staff retention and development, legal issues in the workplace, and coaching, motivating and diversifying your work force.

Attorneys will make presentations on issues such as substance abuse and employment law, while human resource experts will address topics including employee recruitment and development.

The hope, Roddick says, is that the conference will help employers keep up with new developments.

The legalities are always changing, she says. This keeps employers on the right side of the law.

U.S. Department of Labor officials will also discuss the Workforce Investment Act passed by Congress in 1998. The law is designed to build a seamless network of public- and private-sector agencies to meet the work force needs of employers.

The cost is $175 and includes all classes and handouts, as well as two meals, two receptions and refreshments. About 140 employers have already registered. One-day rates are also available. The Wednesday and Friday programs are $50 per day and Thursday's is $100. To register or for more information, call Roddick at (503) 947-1305.

The Oregon Employer Council was formed in 1977 to give employers a chance to provide input about services funded by the payroll taxes they pay and about other issues. The council holds conferences annually around the state, but Roddick says this will be the first one held in Southern Oregon in recent years.