Three Things Companies Want From Workforce Development Agencies

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Government workforce development programs find themselves with greater opportunities to positively impact an area’s economy than ever before. That may appear counter-intuitive to some who see unemployment rates at record lows, but these types of environments beg for initiatives that can deliver a qualified labor pool that companies need now and tomorrow.

When the job market is tight, companies become constrained in finding enough experienced talent to grow. Moreover, today’s global market makes it difficult for businesses to fund workforce development on its own adequately. That means government-sponsored initiatives must play an even bigger role.

More specifically, we see increased demand by businesses for apprenticeship-style training programs that provide individuals trade-level skills for a wide array of professions. Advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence come immediately to mind, but the examples are seemingly endless. Agencies can make the difference in fostering economic growth by focusing on these three things:

Move At The Speed Of Business
Government programs, such as ones that come under the purview of community colleges, can get bogged down by internal bureaucracy. The global economy moves at a rapid pace. Streamlining the development and execution of apprenticeship training and other workforce development activities will ensure companies can keep up with their rivals around the world. As important, it will be a boost for agency heads who must report measurable outcomes to justify the budgets.

Partner With Organizations
Companies will gladly assist in creating the type of workforce development initiatives that bring in qualified candidates. Their inability to do so on their own stems not from a lack of desire, but instead a lack of ability to fund on their own at the expense of staying competitive. Offering them a way to increase their prospective labor pool without the exponential costs will get them involved in many ways, including actively volunteering to develop the curriculum and vetting candidates. Get input from companies early and make them part of the team that develops the solution.

Focus On More Than The Classroom
If agencies focused on developing one working apprentice for every four college students, it would equal five million new trades people in the workforce, a tenfold increase from today’s number and a solid improvement to working towards filling the vast number of vacancies that exist in today’s job market.  While I don’t dispute the value of a four-year degree, many industries require trades people with advanced, state-of-the-art certifications. California, like the rest of the country, lacks enough qualified candidates to fill these roles. Workforce development programs that cater to this need will be of incredible value to area economies.These government-sponsored initiatives work best when they become tribal. By that, I mean involving a broad range of government and business stakeholders that come together to assess the challenge, deploy agile teams and co-create solutions. When developed and executed in a collaborative atmosphere, these programs will thrive from implementation to measured success.

Margo Turner, Founder and CEO of Powerminds


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