New research offers insight into key workforce development issues as it relates to middle-skills jobs, a state’s STEM workforce and a sector-focused program for the career advancement of low-skilled adults.
Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills – New research from Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies found that 69 percent of human resources executives believe “their inability to attract and retain middle-skills talent frequently affects their firm’s performance.” In a new analysis that take a closer look at the skills gap for middle-skills jobs, the authors examine job market data with a focus on competitiveness and offer a framework for business leaders to prioritize jobs that matter for their business, industry, community and region.
The report offers overarching recommendations for an array of stakeholders:
- Educators in community and technical colleges must embrace their roles as employment partners;
- Business leaders must champion an employer-led skills-development system; and
- Policymakers must actively foster collaboration between employers and educators by improving access to labor market data, revising metrics for educators and workforce development programs and advocate for the critical role of middle-skills jobs.
Cracking the Code on STEM: A People Strategy for Nevada’s Economy – Nevada’s newly diversified economic strategy is beginning to work, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, but now the state must focus on growing the talent pipeline to fill the high-demand jobs, particularly in STEM-related fields. Although many of the currently available opportunities “require no more than the right community college certificate, insufficient numbers of Nevadans have pursued even a little STEM training.” Without a targeted effort from the state to address this critical workforce need, the skills shortages could limit the state’s growth.
Along with a series of policy memos, this new analysis looks at Nevada’s STEM economy and labor market as well as the actions of the state’s leaders – public, private and philanthropic – can take to develop a skilled workforce. Specifically, the report draws three conclusions:
- Growth in Nevada’s STEM-oriented sectors such as Business IT Ecosystems and Health and Medical Services is challenging the state’s ability to deliver an adequate supply of both technical and professional STEM workers;
- Significant challenges threaten to undercut the state’s ability to cultivate the workforce needed to advance its economic diversification; and
- Nevada needs to create a people strategy to complement its economic strategy.
WorkAdvance: Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers – A new report from MDRC presents the early findings of four WorkAdvance programs around the country that are implementing the sector-focused career advancement program for low-skilled adults. Sharing the programs’ successes and lessons learned, the report gives an early insight into the challenges of, and best practices for implementing a program like WorkAdvance, which are currently operating in Oklahoma, Ohio and New York City. In late 2015, MDRC plans to release a report examining the program’s effects on employment and earnings as well as costs.
Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate