Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
I have access to two opposing sides of the jobs debate. On one hand, I have been in meetings recently where employers comment about expanding their workforce, but express difficulty in finding qualified applicants. On the other hand, I hear kitchen table talk of those looking for jobs, but never getting a call back. Even in my hometown, I have uncles who are hiring managers, who also express concern about finding local talent? How is that possible in small or even regional communities?
The first question I always ask is about the community outreach to make sure the under-employed are aware of job openings and the skills required to perform the work. When the response is unclear to me, it is a pretty good indicator of why the employment gap exists. People will not apply for jobs that they do not know exist. This is especially true in manufacturing, not just at the shop floor level, but also for the support staff roles. For communities to be successful in addressing their workforce concerns, there has to be a connected effort of the local chamber of commerce / economic development agencies, employers, educators, and community advocates.
At the national level, a best practice example of multiply agencies working together is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). The program is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds. It encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. Through IMCP, the federal government is rewarding best practices – coordinating federal aid to support communities’ strong development plans and synchronizing grant programs across multiple departments and agencies. Non-designated communities nationwide can learn from the best practices employed by these designated communities to strengthen American manufacturing. I was excited to learn that of the twelve pilot communities selected, I have had firsthand experience in two, Pittsburgh and Memphis. To learn more about this $1 billion dollar investment to accelerate a resurgence in the manufacturing supply chain, visit http://www.eda.gov/news/press-releases/2015/07/08/imcp.htm
Another program that I endorse is the ACT Work Ready Communities solution. I was first introduced to this program in Texas when the regional chambers of commerce were looking for a platform to help market the local workforce's ability to meet the current and emergent need for potential employers looking to invest in the area. The criteria for success was predicated on an agreed upon standard for certifying the skills. Perspective employees earn industry-recognized skill credential, the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC) and local employers use these certifications in their hiring processes. Although piloted in several counties in AR and TN since 2012, to date, I could only identify one company in the region who recognized the ACT Career Readiness Certificate, Smith & Nephew in Shelby County. Perhaps as more of these interagency partnerships converge, more companies and communities will adopt this process to address the skills needed to drive economic growth. To learn more about Work Ready Communities, go to http://workreadycommunities.org/.
In order for communities to address their economic growth by hiring people who have the right skills for the available and anticipated jobs, there must be an aligned, community-based initiative. As an advocate for careers in manufacturing, I am excited about the programs offered by the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and the ACT Work Ready Communities. What other solutions exist for improving the outreach and effectiveness for workforce development? Feel free to comment or send me an email to latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blogat http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
I have access to two opposing sides of the jobs debate. On one hand, I have been in meetings recently where employers comment about expanding their workforce, but express difficulty in finding qualified applicants. On the other hand, I hear kitchen table talk of those looking for jobs, but never getting a call back. Even in my hometown, I have uncles who are hiring managers, who also express concern about finding local talent? How is that possible in small or even regional communities?
The first question I always ask is about the community outreach to make sure the under-employed are aware of job openings and the skills required to perform the work. When the response is unclear to me, it is a pretty good indicator of why the employment gap exists. People will not apply for jobs that they do not know exist. This is especially true in manufacturing, not just at the shop floor level, but also for the support staff roles. For communities to be successful in addressing their workforce concerns, there has to be a connected effort of the local chamber of commerce / economic development agencies, employers, educators, and community advocates.
At the national level, a best practice example of multiply agencies working together is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). The program is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds. It encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. Through IMCP, the federal government is rewarding best practices – coordinating federal aid to support communities’ strong development plans and synchronizing grant programs across multiple departments and agencies. Non-designated communities nationwide can learn from the best practices employed by these designated communities to strengthen American manufacturing. I was excited to learn that of the twelve pilot communities selected, I have had firsthand experience in two, Pittsburgh and Memphis. To learn more about this $1 billion dollar investment to accelerate a resurgence in the manufacturing supply chain, visit http://www.eda.gov/news/press-releases/2015/07/08/imcp.htm
Another program that I endorse is the ACT Work Ready Communities solution. I was first introduced to this program in Texas when the regional chambers of commerce were looking for a platform to help market the local workforce's ability to meet the current and emergent need for potential employers looking to invest in the area. The criteria for success was predicated on an agreed upon standard for certifying the skills. Perspective employees earn industry-recognized skill credential, the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC) and local employers use these certifications in their hiring processes. Although piloted in several counties in AR and TN since 2012, to date, I could only identify one company in the region who recognized the ACT Career Readiness Certificate, Smith & Nephew in Shelby County. Perhaps as more of these interagency partnerships converge, more companies and communities will adopt this process to address the skills needed to drive economic growth. To learn more about Work Ready Communities, go to http://workreadycommunities.org/.
In order for communities to address their economic growth by hiring people who have the right skills for the available and anticipated jobs, there must be an aligned, community-based initiative. As an advocate for careers in manufacturing, I am excited about the programs offered by the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and the ACT Work Ready Communities. What other solutions exist for improving the outreach and effectiveness for workforce development? Feel free to comment or send me an email to latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blogat http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.