The Three Most Important Things Companies Want From Workforce Development Agencies

The Three Most Important Things Companies Want From Workforce Development Agencies
By Margo Turner

Government workforce development agencies find themselves with greater opportunities to positively impact an area’s economy than ever before.

While that may appear counter intuitive when we see unemployment rates at record lows, these types of environments beg for initiatives that can deliver a qualified labor pool that companies need now and tomorrow.

When the job market is tight, companies become constrained in finding enough experienced talent to grow. Moreover, today’s global market makes it difficult for businesses to fund workforce development on its own adequately.

This means government-sponsored initiatives must play an even bigger role.

More specifically, we see increased demand by businesses for apprenticeship-style and on the job training programs that provide individuals with the skills they will need for a wide array of occupations.

Advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and biotechnology come immediately to mind, but the examples are seemingly endless.

Workforce development agencies can make the difference in fostering economic growth by focusing on the these three most important things companies want.

Move At The Speed Of Business

Government programs, such as ones that come under the purview of community colleges, can get hampered by internal bureaucracy. The global economy moves at an ever more rapid pace. Streamlining the creation and implementation of apprenticeship and other workforce development programs will ensure companies can keep up with their rivals around the world.

As important, it will be a boost for agency heads who must report measurable outcomes to justify the use of their funds..

Partner With Employers

Companies will gladly assist creating workforce development initiatives that will bring in qualified candidates.

Their inability to do so on their own stems not from a lack of desire, but instead an inability to fund on their own the costs of staying competitive. Offering businesses a way to increase their prospective labor pool without exponentially increasing costs will get them involved in many ways, including actively volunteering to develop the curriculum and vetting candidates.

Getting input from companies early and make them part of the team that develops the solutions.

Focus On More Than The Classroom

By focusing on developing one working apprentice for every four college students, agencies would add equal five million new trades people to the workforce, a tenfold increase from today’s number and a solid improvement to working towards filling the vast number of vacancies in the current job market.

While I don’t dispute the value of a four-year degree, many industries need many more trades people with advanced, state-of-the-art certifications and associates degree in career technical fields.

California, like the rest of the country, lacks enough qualified candidates to fill these roles. Workforce development programs help meet this need will be incredibly valuable to growing economies.

These government-sponsored initiatives work best when they become tribal. By that, I mean involving a broad range of education, government and business stakeholders coming together to assess the challenge, deploy agile teams and co-create solutions. When developed and implemented in a collaborative atmosphere, these programs will thrive from coming together to measured success.

The point: act fast, partner first, and think outside the classroom box.

About the Author: Margo Turner is the Founder and CEO of Powerminds, a tribe of strategic and creative minds invested in transforming education, workforce and economic development that spans every discipline and every kind of partner. She can be reached at

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