Effective workforce-development programs will be a crucial part of US efforts to fuel economic growth, lead on innovation, and compete on the global stage." 1/
Don’t confuse workforce development with workplace training. The two are very different. Workplace training is valuable for helping existing employees succeed. Workforce development is focused on getting those potential workers to the table.
Why worry about Workforce development?
Can your small business stay in business without additional talent for the next 10 years? Chances are you can’t. Even if everybody is healthy, there are always unexpected events that can turn a profitable, well run business topsy-turvey.
Technology is automating low-skilled and easily automated tasks changing the skill levels of new recruits and existing employees alike. Technology will drive change in the job market, in other words, 65 percent of today’s primary school students will hold jobs that don’t exist today.1/
If there are no family wage jobs, our quality of life will degrade. Who will be there to fix the plumbing, care for the aged and nurse the ill, build the homes, or pump the gas (it is Oregon after all and we are not allowed to pump our own!).
Competition for workers will continue to increase not only locally but for pulling potential workers outside of our area that may be willing to accept lower-paying city jobs, because even those appear to pay better than well-paying local jobs. Of course, the cost and quality of living is also different but that is often conveniently ignored.
Some jobs will be very difficult to fill or automate. This can be due to the requirements, pay, benefits, or other problems such as lack of workforce housing or childcare, and a degraded infrastructure (such as hospitals, transportation, and education). It is interesting to note that many jobs already are in the hard to fill category which suggests that a certain percentage of these jobs may never be filled. It has been estimated that 50 percent of workforce activities could be automated, but few (around 15%) have been. Yet. It is estimated that by 2030, 30 percent of the US workforce will need to change jobs or upgrade skills significantly to stay employed due to automation.1/
How Workforce Development Helps
Our goal is to help strengthen the South Coast workforce pipeline as part of the South Coast Development Council business retention/recruitment and expansion vision.
Without available labor, businesses will not thrive or come here. Yes, a workforce pipeline currently exists, but we hear that business are not getting the number and quality of candidates they need. With low unemployment rates, we are generally in a position where there are more jobs than qualified candidates to fill them. Because we are rural and because the populations in many coastal cities are dwindling, we may feel this shortage more acutely. The lack of skilled labor could degrade our quality of life.
Potential employees may look elsewhere if they are not able to find employment quickly or at least find resources that will help them find a job. Because of the rural environment, many of the resources are fragmented across several small organizations that are spread across the regional landscape.
A collaborative process is needed to actively cultivate the next generation of talent and strengthen the existing pipeline. This includes connecting business and educators, learning best practices, and figuring out how to foster an ongoing development program. Development might include ensuring that young prospective hires know how to write a resume, or dress appropriately for a job interview. It also includes training and exposure to different types of jobs and skills. And finally, it includes a certain amount of competition between businesses to hire the right candidate, and between candidates to put their best foot forward.
The implementation of the McMinnville Works Internship program at the South Coast Development Council in June is the start of that process. The training will help businesses learn the best practices for hosting an intern, and will be able to talk about ways to continue to improve our workforce pipeline.
Is there a way to measure our success? Maybe. Maybe our population will gradually increase as more of our local families stay intact longer, rather than losing all of our young ones to other communities. Maybe we can fill quality jobs with quality candidates faster. Maybe we can raise the quality of life here and make sure that critical jobs get filled.
What’s the value of a more resilient and adaptable workforce, stronger communities, and accelerated economic growth? Our future.
Reference: 1/ “Creating an effective workforce system for the new economy” July 2018 by Chen, Wan-Lei, et al. at https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-sector/our-insights/creating-an-effective-workforce-system-for-the-new-economy