Report: Community Colleges and Middle-Skill Talent in LA Region, from Center for a Competitive Workforce

Center for a Competitive Workforce, of which LAEDC is a founding partner, has released a new report suggesting the need for more “middle-skill” talent to fill occupations in Los Angeles and Orange County industries.  The report studied 20 occupations which were selected because they are in-demand occupations in growing industries, representing great opportunity for careers as well as representing important talent requirements of the businesses in these sectors.  The good news is that the trajectory is already changing for the better, as LA’s community college system works to address the needs identified in the report.

Read the report HERE.

Watch the press briefing HERE, with remarks by LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra, President of the LACCD Board of Trustees Sydney Kamlager-Dove, and Richard Verches, Director, LA|OC Regional Consortium of Community Colleges.


Looming Middle-Skill Talent Shortage in Los Angeles Region, According to Report by Center for a Competitive Workforce

Based on Awards, Community Colleges will satisfy only 58% of L.A. Basin’s Talent Needs in 20 Key Middle-Skill Occupations by 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 3, 2017) – A first-of-its-kind report released today revealed that while the 28 community colleges in the greater Los Angeles / Orange County Basin (“LA Basin”) are developing talent for high-growth occupations, industries and local employers, there are opportunities for greater industry alignment to grow career education programs that provide local residents the skills they need to access well-paying jobs and careers, while improving the ability of businesses to have access to — and participate in the program development that will ensure — a reliable pipeline of qualified talent.

This is the first report produced by the recently launched Center for a Competitive Workforce. It includes an analysis of 20 middle-skill occupations for which community colleges offer degree and/or certificate programs. The occupations are drawn from six regionally-concentrated industries in which the LA Basin has a competitive advantage over other economic regions.  Potential shortages were and identified by performing a gap analysis that compared the occupational forecast with the number of community college graduates from programs associated with training required for these occupations.

In the region there will be approximately 67,450 job openings over the next five years for the 20 occupations examined in the report.  But, according to the latest data available, from the academic year 2014-15, there were fewer than 27,000 career education award earners in the greater Los Angeles Basin. And only about 7,800 awards were conferred in programs training relevant to the 20 target occupations.

If this trend continues without our region’s talent development systems and institutions responding in kind, especially the community colleges which are the primary suppliers of this middle skill talent, then the demand in the region will not be met over the next five years.

The report, titled L.A. & ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGES:  Powering Economic Opportunity, was funded by the Strong Workforce program, an initiative of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

“The State invested in California’s community colleges to deliver on the strong workforce needed to fuel regional economies and advance social mobility. Our 200+ career education programs train for occupations in healthcare, cybersecurity, bioscience, transportation, advanced manufacturing, information and computer technology, and more,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Digital Futures of the California Community Colleges. “The more that employers engage to speak to the skillsets they need, the better our colleges can deliver to what they want.”

“This report offers great information for the colleges and will spur partnerships with local businesses, and I think this report will also help inform students, who ultimately drive demand for programs and classes in the community college system,” said Bill Scroggins, President of Mt. San Antonio College.

“For economic developers, such as the LAEDC, the co-equal goals must be: to help LA Basin’s target industries build more capacity to accommodate more of the excess supply of labor that will be increasingly dislocated by automation, digitization and other innovative technologies; and to ensure that our talent development systems and institutions are configured properly to transition more of our residents into the non-automatable, more highly skilled and high-growth occupations supported by these target industries,” said Dave Flaks, President and COO of LAEDC.  “In the face of unprecedented economic change, we need to get this right.”

“This report is filled with valuable data and we hope that post-secondary institutions and businesses utilize this information in meaningful ways. This data can guide decisions on investments necessary to fill existing skills gaps and help build better systems that tightly align workforce development with local business/industry need,” said Gary Toebben, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We urge community colleges and all of our post-secondary educational institutions to work collaboratively with business to ensure our students become successful employees of the Los Angeles region. The Chamber is proud to be a partner in this endeavor.”

“At Propel L.A., we applaud this report and the Center’s work, which aligns with conversations we’ve had with more than 75 countywide and regional stakeholders to discuss issues related to early childhood education, K-12, adult education, community colleges, and CSUs,”  said Marianne Haver Hill, Executive Director of Propel L.A.  “Goals 1 and 2 of the Strategic Plan for Economic Development outline strategies to link all levels of education to regional industry demand to upskill the workforce, and to form partnerships between academic institutions and key industry clusters, which are essential to advancing quality of life for the residents of L.A. County.”

Gain more insights by viewing the report at Center for a Competitive Workforce (Here).


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About the Center:  Center for a Competitive Workforce, housed at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), is a Strong Workforce Program regional project of the 19 L.A. region community colleges in the LA/OC Regional Consortium and the Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research at Mt. San Antonio College in partnership with the LAEDC and its Institute for Applied Economics, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Southern California Leadership Council. The Center’s mission is to better align supply and demand data with labor market information, support industry-driven career education and workforce development programs and curricula and strengthen industry engagement across our region’s talent development systems with the goal to train, educate and upskill a more competitive workforce in LA County for the knowledge-intensive industries that will come to dominate our economic future.  This partnership between community colleges and economic development will result in regional strategies that address the talent gaps employers face, and better align the supply of talent with the projected demand of local employers. www.CompetitiveWorkforce.LA

Media contact:  Lawren Markle, LAEDC Director of Public Relations, [email protected]

For more details on how LAEDC can help businesses partner with educational institutions to develop talent, please contact [email protected]










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