Mid-Skill Worker Shortage Meets Its Match

Gary Toebben

October 17, 2017

Last month, in response to a transitioning economy in which jobs are becoming more technical and specialized, the Chamber and its partners launched the Center for a Competitive Workforce to assist employers, workforce development organizations and educational institutions in meeting labor market demand.

The Center is a partnership of the 19 L.A. community colleges, the Chamber, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research at Mt. San Antonio College and the Southern California Leadership Council. It will combine research on the demand for talent with the formation of six regional industry councils. These councils will be responsible for validating labor market data, advising on necessary occupational skills, and designing curriculum and programs. The L.A. Area Chamber will lead the health services, and the information and communications councils for the consortium. The other four councils will focus on entertainment and digital media, aerospace, advanced transportation and bioscience. To get involved in these councils, click here.

The Center’s partners believe that this coordination will position our region for great success as the economy transitions at an accelerated pace toward intellectual property and knowledge as primary factors for job performance.

Recently, the Center released its first report, L.A. & Orange County Community Colleges: Powering Economic Opportunity, that includes an analysis of 20 middle-skill occupations for which community colleges offer degree and certificate programs. It is estimated there will be approximately 67,450 job openings over the next five years in these 20 occupations. According to the latest data available for the academic year 2014-15, only 7,800 academic awards were conferred in programs training these 20 target occupations. If this trend continues, only 58 percent of the labor demand in the region will be met during the next five years.

Post-secondary institutions now have valuable information to guide decisions on investments necessary to fill skills gaps. This data will help build systems and curriculum that tightly align workforce development programs with the needs of local business and industry. To ensure success, we urge businesses to work collaboratively with community colleges and all of our post-secondary educational institutions. Together we can provide our students with the skills and training they need to match future jobs and become outstanding employees for successful companies in the L.A. region.

And that's The Business Perspective.

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