Update on the Center for A Competitive Workforce

The Center for a Competitive Workforce, which was launched as a partnership of the LA|OC Regional Consortium of 19 community colleges, LAEDC, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Southern California Leadership Council, and the Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research at Mt San Antonio College, has been busy working on its inaugural report. The report will examine our region’s supply of and demand for labor—with a close look at the region’s community college supply of talent—in order to better align skilled graduates with projected hiring by local employers. This unprecedented report is slated for release on 10/3/17 at the upcoming “Future Forum: Future of Work in LA County” event.

The Center—which is housed at the LAEDC in order to ensure collaboration on regional economic intelligence—represents the California Community College’s shift to regional-based workforce development with the Strong Workforce Initiative. The partnership behind the Center connects the largest talent supply system (Community Colleges) and three of the region’s more prominent economic development and business associations (demand) to achieve three major milestones:

  1. Co-produce accessible and timely economic intelligence and labor market research that reflects both supply and demand data to support and better align academic and career education programs and curricula to current and prospective industry, employer and occupational requirements and inform college investments in career education programs, faculty and facilities.
  2. Develop models for industry cluster councils that engage multiple employers to validate economic and data analysis, identify industry trends and/or hiring/training needs and identify priority companies/occupations for community college students. We will also identify interested companies and employers who are willing to support a wide range of work-based learning opportunities, including paid internships and apprenticeships. Lastly, we will coordinate sharing between faculty and industry leaders to support collaborative rather than competitive engagement.
  3. Undertake strategic transactional efforts with individual employers to identify and secure commitments for students to be placed in work based learning experiences commensurate with their educational level that provide introduction, insight, or hands on experience that will complement their academic/career education, training and work experience to ensure students are qualified and competitive for in-demand occupations in high growth industries, and employers have a solid understanding of the current and prospective supply of talent community colleges are preparing for the workforce.

The goals described above are the future of workforce development envisioned by the Center. They represent a strategic move towards system-level change, informed by data, in which individual schools can make curricula choices based on a better understanding of skills development needs for the region. If the Center’s efforts are going to have a meaningful impact, this approach represents the most effective strategy to help the entire region adapt successfully to the rapidly transitioning economy.

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