Regions win through comprehensive workforce development strategy

January 26, 2017

With job growth for middle-skill level jobs slowing, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Austin-based nonprofit Center for Public Policy Priorities studied the nation’s best practices and surveyed regional workforce boards in Texas to determine how communities there are addressing the challenge. Their findings are detailed in the report, Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas, released last month. For a region to succeed in their workforce development efforts, the study states three tasks must be accomplished: identify growth through an industry cluster analysis, convene a sector partnership, and create and strengthen career pathways.

“When regional workforce development systems fully integrate these elements, they are building world-class regional talent pipelines,” the report states. Advantages of a regional industry cluster strategy include coordinated analysis, identification of in-demand occupations and shared implementation of a regional workforce development plan. Sector partnerships have positive outcomes such as higher quality jobs for job seekers and lower turnover costs and better productivity for employers. High-quality outcomes of building career pathways include a greater responsiveness to industry by educational institutions and training partners, and better services for students.

Such efforts rarely achieve their full potential, however, because of the lack of coordination on a comprehensive workforce development strategy. When they do come together, there is greater potential to create powerful regional talent pipelines to help drive the local economy, the report maintains, while improving the availability of a highly skilled workforce for an entire industry and moving people into higher-paying jobs.

The report concludes with recommendations on how Texas’ state-level entities can help guide pathways to better outcomes. While it acknowledges that regional coordination cannot be mandated at the state level, the state may offer strategic guidance and provide needed resources. Recommendations for state-level entities in Texas are also detailed in the report, starting with making the development of sector partnerships and regional talent pipelines a strategic priority for the state of Texas.

 

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