Gaps in the supply and quality of the region’s workforce hinder economic momentum and present risk to the current economic base. Ongoing survey efforts of targeted employers led by the WIB pinpointed the workforce issues of greatest risk to the current economy. Within the WIB’s Talent Development Strategy are three categories with related objectives: Skill Development, Talent Recruitment, and Talent Gardening.
If skill gap issues are neglected, the region risks reductions or closings of companies in order to relocate to other areas able to meet their labor quality and supply demands. New job creation and new commercial investment are among the lost opportunities sited. Expansion of existing firms, entrepreneurial ventures, and attractions of new companies may be hindered by skill gaps and/or shortages as well.
Strategies and Objectives for Talent Development
- Skill Development: Assessment, training, and advancement for the three categories of the workforce: emerging (students), current (under-employed workers), and transitioning workers
- A. Identify and deploy Industry Recognized Credentials and related assessments of technical skills to validate workforce quality and career readiness (above and beyond National Career Readiness Certificate)
- B. Design and launch SectorReady Principles series of Job Center workshops (in partnership with employers and workforce system partners) that aid in real-time employment and entry into career pathway sectors
- C. Construct and launch SectorReady Career Pathways system to inform workforce customers of job and training opportunities to enter and advance sector-driven careers
- D. Collaborate with employers and educators on the design and deployment of short-term and long-term training programs
- E. Advocate with education partners on credit for prior learning initiatives to help SectorReady pathway workers achieve college degree goals
- Talent Recruitment: Positioning of Southwest/Joplin Region as ideal market for employees seeking to balance quality of life and career advancement potential
- A. Represent workforce system with coalitions of business and community leaders to identify and promote regional assets that aid in recruitment of new resident workers
- Talent Gardening: Engagement of disenfranchised populations with severe barriers to education and employment goals
- A. Sustain partnerships with public and civic agencies to co-broker solutions to common barrier
- B. Arrange and promote resources for ease of use by customers and workforce system partners through SectorReady Career Pathways and Job Centers
- C. Host a summit on employment and training issues for those with disabilities targeted to stakeholders that advocate and serve the disabled
Workforce Innovation through SectorReady™
The SectorReady™ framework strengthens the region’s workforce through:
- Career pathways to expand recruitment and job advancement of students and transitioning adults
- Entry-level and intermediate credentials to certify high-demand skills
- Innovative training with a high-impact, high-volume, and lower-cost approach
Visit SectorReady online to learn more about how SectorReady™ can help employers, educators, and community leaders to strengthen the region’s workforce and economic vitality. Contact Jasen Jones or Frank Neely at the WIB for more info.
The Workforce System and Beyond
The American Job Centers at Joplin, Monett, and Neosho provide one segment of the bigger picture role of the WIB in talent development. The placement of individual customers into targeted employment sectors is accomplished through effectively measuring the skills and aptitudes of individuals and adds value to workforce supply for long-term retention, productivity, and earning power for the region’s economy. The one-stop system is a work in progress, however. Its limited resources and structures can only serve a portion of the businesses and job seekers necessary for significant regional impact.
In the book Workforce Intermediaries for the 21st Century (Temple Press, 2004), author Robert Golith describes intermediaries as “homegrown, local partnerships that bring together relevant partners to fashion and implement pathways to career advancement and family-supporting employment for low-skilled workers.” Golith categorizes five attributes of Workforce Intermediaries (WIs). They take a dual-customer approach, go beyond job matching, integrate public and private resources and information, generate ideas and innovations, and do not limit themselves to a single purpose or function.
At its most effective level, the WIB serves as a progressive workforce intermediary to effectively represent the demand-driven needs of business and link them to the complex array of resources from training institutions and public education. This linkage is crucial to create and sustain the talent needed to fuel the region’s economy. Projects like Certified Work Ready Communities and the Public Safety Program are prime examples of how the WIB can deliver to targeted business sectors the skills needed to thrive and compete in the global economy.