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Reconciling Workforce Development and Economic Development: Still Worth Trying


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Title: Reconciling Workforce Development and Economic Development: Still Worth Trying

Reconciling Workforce Development and Economic
Development Still Worth Trying?
  • Mary McCain
  • TechVision21
  • Washington Workforce and Economic Development
  • 2007 Leadership Conference
  • November 14, 2007

Considering the Topic
  • Is this really what we need to be talking about?

The Points for Today
  • Economic and Workforce Development
  • Theory, Reality, Expectations of Alignment
  • The Workforce Crisis Has Arrived
  • Interests of Global Employers
  • Talent and Global integration
  • The New Workplace ICT-enabled Access and
    Communication 24/7
  • Learning on Demand/Distance Learning
  • The real challenges for workforce development
  • Workforce Development Systems
  • The Hard to Serve and Hard to Find
  • The Role of Post-Secondary Education
  • Distance Learning
  • Is this really what we should be talking about?
  • Sample Practices Integration, Alignment
  • QA To and From

US competitiveness at risk
  • The Gathering Storm
  • Global threats to dominance in innovation and
  • Looming workforce crisis technology,
    demographic change, global marketplace for
  • Outcomes in K-12, STEM, graduates, literacy,
    skill, etc.
  • at best level at worst trending down
  • Existing systems lack capacity, design for 21st
    century economy
  • Federal Government Response
  • Money for STEM at K-12, post-secondary and lab
  • Discussion of importance of skilled workforce
  • Not new news yet focus unchanged
  • improve and/or expand and/or supplement
    traditional systems and methods
  • Rising Above the Gathering Storm Energizing
    and Employing America for a Brighter Economic
    Future, National Academy of Sciences, National
    Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine,

Economic and Workforce Development Theory and
  • Responsibilities
  • ED sets up attractive environment for business
    that includes critical element of skilled
    workforce and talent pool Presses start
  • WFD identifies necessary skills to meet demand,
    trains workforce, makes match with employers.
  • Shared macro goal of ensuring a skilled and
    talented workforce, BUT
  • ED interest is a skilled and talented labor pool
    that employers can tap into if, when and as
  • WFD interest is in responding to triple challenge
    of bringing a labor pool of individuals at all
    levels of literacy, education, skill to the
    expected standard for an industry or new
    employer, responding to the skill demands of
    employers for new jobs and providing one or two
    employees to fill the often idiosyncratic skill
    demands of a single employer
  • Process
  • ED has clarity of process not much gray area
  • WFD is difficult to categorize almost all gray

Economic and Workforce Development Expectations
of Alignment
  • Risk in focus on alignment as goal
  • Success possible only to the degree that systems
    work similarly and they do not
  • ED typically overseen by no more than two
  • WFD typically part of four or more
  • Successful performance may or may not result in
    same outcome
  • ED gets employers, raises state revenue, creates
    jobs macro measure
  • WFD gets people, trains and/or educates, object
    is jobs and/or career path for individual and
    family sustaining income micro measure
  • WFD only one component of ED, not equal
  • Alignment can be barrier to getting things done
  • Too much focus on immediate results at ground
  • Too little focus on perspectives and processes to
    ensure sustainability

Economic and Workforce Development The Middle
  • Same degree of attention to mutual interests and
    processes on local/community level as required
    for alignment on state/regional level.
  • Goal of linking ED and WFD is currently a
    popular, as well as important, one
  • variety of options and potential funding sources
    for demonstrations (sectors, clusters,
    intermediaries, etc.) can lead to overlapping
    target populations, strategies, measures
  • challenges in determining best practice and
    taking to scale
  • Well-intentioned version of throwing mud against
    wall and seeing what sticks Experience remains
    valuable guide

Washington StateDeclare Victory and Move On
  • Best in Class The Next Washington
  • Contributing reports (Washington Learns Global
    Competitiveness Council STECB Review of
    Workforce System, SBCTC System Direction, etc.)
    provide detailed, strategic assessments and
    recommendations for already-exemplary systems
    accountability for implementation
  • Focus on integrating systems, implementing
    cluster and/or sectoral approaches on
    regional/local levels
  • Funds for research, tech transfer, innovation
  • Alignment may be by-product

Workforce Crisis Unmet Demand
  • Employer Surveys 2005/2006
  • 400 senior executives across industry and company
    size - nearly 28 projected their companies will
    reduce hiring of new entrants with only a high
    school diploma over the next five years. 
  • Human resource executives 70 said incoming
    workers with inadequate skills are greatest
    threat to business performance
  • US manufacturers - Over 90 reported serious to
    moderate shortage of skilled workers 29
    commented that implementing and using new
    technology was most affected by shortage of
    skilled workers.
  • Corporate training and development professionals
    43 listed skills shortages among top three
    business challenges.
  • 200 multinational corporations stated that they
    are global shoppers for talent, not just
    seekers of low-wage workers.
  • The Conference Board, Partnership for 21st
    Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working
    Families, Society for Human Resource Executives,
    Are They Really Ready to Work? (10/06) Deloitte
    Research, Its 2008 Do You Know Where Your
    Talent Is? Why Acquisition and Retention
    Strategies Dont Work National Association of
    Manufacturers and Deloitte Consulting,LLP, 2005
    Skills Gap Report (11/05) The Ken Blanchard
    Companies Corporate Issues Survey for 2006.
    TechLearn Newsline (April 11, 2006) Jerry G.
    Thursby and Marie C. Thursby, Here or There? A
    Survey on the Factors in Multinational RD
    Location and IP Protection, Highlights found on

Workforce Crisis Education Demand
  • Between 2000 and 2015, about 85 newly created
    U.S. jobs will require education beyond high
  • 69.8 of jobs will require work-related training
  • 20.9 will require a bachelor's degree or higher,
  • 9.3 will require an associate's degree or
    postsecondary vocational award.
  • 2006 Survey 400 senior human resource executives
    across industry and company size (BLS)
  • 49.5 said percentages of two-year college
    graduates they hire would increase
  • almost 60 said hires of four-year college
    graduates would increase
  • 42 percent said hires of post-graduates would
    increase over next five years

Workforce Crisis ICT Skills Demand
  • Over 77 of all jobs in US will require some
    level of ability to use ICT by 2010.
  • 9 of 10 fastest growing occupations through 2014
    are health or IT.
  • OECD survey of 7 countries, including US, found
    minimal differences in intensity of computer use
    in occupations ranging from knowledge experts
    to high-skill information to low-skill

Workforce Crisis SupplyDemographic Change -
Age Ethnicity
  • Baby boom retirement began 2006
  • Incoming generations 20 million fewer
  • Number of 50-68 year olds in professional,
    management, service, office and administrative
    support, and sales occupations is projected to
    grow considerablysome, such as professional
    occupations, as much as 41
  • Challenges in retaining workers beyond retirement
  • experience
  • knowledge capture
  • US Labor Force composition by 2014
  • individuals of Hispanic origin will constitute
  • African Americans 12
  • Asians 5.1

Workforce Crisis Supply - Immigrants
  • 20 M gap in numbers between baby boom and
    incoming generations will be filled by population
    growth from immigration, primarily from Mexico
    Central America
  • Current profile of immigrants in US workforce
  • 3/4 of U.S. workers with less than ninth-grade
    education are immigrants.
  • Nearly 2/3 of low-wage immigrant workers do not
    speak English proficiently
  • 29 of Limited English Proficient workers have
    been in the country for 20 years or more.
  • Limited capacity in workforce/adult basic
    education systems to serve these populations
  • BLS Capps, Randy, et al., A Profile of the
    Low-Wage Immigrant Workforce. The Urban Institute
    (October 2003). Found at
    s/310880.html. Sum, Andrew, et al., Immigrant
    Workers and the Great American Job Machine The
    Contributions of New Foreign Immigration to
    National and Regional Labor Force Growth in the
    1990s (Boston Northeastern University, August
    2002 cited in Stacey Wagner and Phyllis Eisen,
    Closing the Immigrant Skills Gap, Center for
    Workforce Success, National Association of
    Manufacturers, 2005. Greico, Elizabeth. What Kind
    of Work Do Immigrants Do? (Washington, D.C.
    Migration Policy Institute, January 2004, cited
    in Jarrett Wagner and Eisen, op. cit., i.
    Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies Hispanics
    and the American Future (2006), The National
    Academies, National Research Council. Found at

Workforce Crisis SupplyAdult Literacy
  • 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
    found alarmingly low levels of literacy,
    virtually unchanged since last assessment in
  • Only 13 of adults are proficient that is,
    qualified for information jobs and jobs
    requiring some ability to use computers and the
  • Only 4 of individuals of Hispanic origin and
    only 2 percent of African Americans scored in the
    proficient category.
  • Among U.S. adults overall, fewer than half are at
    the intermediate level for prose, which is
    deemed necessary for most jobs.
  • A comparison of the literacy requirements in 2005
    between jobs in high-growth industries and those
    in declining occupations found the proficiency
    requirement for new jobs in projected high-growth
    occupations to be Intermediate, and the
    proficiency level for lost jobs in declining
    occupations to be Basic.
  • Data from National Center on Education
    Statistics (NCES), 2003 National Assessment of
    Adult Literacy (NAAL), 12/05. Found at

Workforce Crisis SupplyAdult Literacy Basic
and Below Basic
  • Prose Literacy 43 (93 M) at Basic or Below
  • Basic 29 (63 million)
  • Below Basic 14 (30 million)
  • Document literacy 34 at Basic or Below Basic
  • Basic 22
  • Below Basic 12
  • Quantitative literacy 55 at Basic or Below
  • Basic 33
  • Below Basic 22
  • Non-literate in English 11 million adults

Literacy Levels Proficient and Intermediate
Associated with majority of non-manual labor
jobs they refer to abilities such as comparing
viewpoints in two editorials identifying a
specific location on a map computing and
comparing the cost per ounce of food items.
Basic reading and understanding information in
short, commonplace prose texts locating easily
identifiable quantitative information and using
it to solve simple, one-step problems when the
arithmetic operation is specified or easily
inferred finding in a pamphlet for prospective
jurors an explanation of how people were selected
for the jury pool using a TV guide to find out
what programs are on at a specific
time comparing the ticket prices for two
events Below Basic ranges non-literate to
abilities listed below locating easily
identifiable information in short, commonplace
prose texts locating easily identifiable
information and following written instructions in
simple documents (e.g., charts or
forms) locating numbers and using them to
perform simple quantitative operations (primarily
addition) when mathematical information is very
concrete and familiar signing a form adding the
amounts on a bank deposit slip
Workforce Crisis SupplyPost-Secondary Education
  • Number of college graduates with highest level
    (proficiency) of prose literacy declined from 40
    in 1992 to 31 in 2003.
  • 2005 study by the American Institutes for
    Research that tested graduating seniors from 2-
    4-year colleges, found prose proficiency among
    whites to be around 40, but that of blacks to be
    under 20.
  • 2006 report measuring performance of US
    post-secondary education with other nations found
    that although US remains leader in the proportion
    of Americans ages 35 to 64 with a college degree,
    it drops to 7th place for 25- to 34-year-olds
    with a college degree.
  • In states with highest levels of post-secondary
    education enrollment, only 65 of community
    college students return for their second year
    only 67 of students in four-year institutions
    complete degrees within six years of enrolling.
  • i ii J. D. Baer, et al., The Literacy of
    Americas College Students, American Institutes
    for Research (2006), cited in Kevin Carey, The
    Black-White College Literacy Gap, Education
    Sector, found at

Concerns of Global EmployersTalent and
  • Accelerating globalization, decentralization and
    reconfiguring of organizations and activities.
  • Some economies most closely identified with low
    wages have begun to offer workers with technical
    skills, a result of an intense focus on workforce
  • Study of more than 200 multinational corporations
    indicates that they are global shoppers for
    talent, not just seekers of low-wage workers.
  • 38 plan to substantially change the worldwide
    distribution of their RD work over the next
    three years.

Conerns of Global EmployersICT and Global
  • Outsourcing (Domestic/Offshore) Corporate
    strategy for development and growth enabled by
  • The digitization of knowledge work and business
  • codification of certain types of knowledge work
    into rule-based procedures
  • access to on-demand knowledge, information,
  • ICT enables face-to-face interaction among
    individuals who are working remotely
  • Global teams that allow integration of expertise,
    creativity, and assessment 24/7
  • Telecommuting

The New Workplace ICT Access and Communication
  • Characterized by technologies that enable and
    encourage new organizations and processes, new
    efficiencies and innovations, new ways of
    learning, and communication without regard to
    time or place.
  • Encompasses wide range of technology tools and
    applications and, most importantly, new patterns
    of communication
  • Performance support tools,
  • Mobile phones and pocket devices,
  • Access to virtual spaces and activities, from
    office meetings to continual communication inside
    organizations, to worlds like Second Life
  • Voice-based systems and Web-based self-service

The New Workplace ICT Access and Communication
  • Learning on Demand/Informal Learning
  • The Water Cooler is Now on the Web
  • Learning on Demand/Knowledge Capture
  • Web 2.0 and Social Networking Blogs, wikis, and
    virtual environments.
  • Value in communicating with employees and in
    gleaning knowledge from employees
  • Wikis - Web pages that can be easily viewed and
    modified by anyone shared learning and
    collaboration among employees
  • Heather Green, The Water Cooler is Now on the
    Web, Business Week, October 1, 2007, pp. 78-9.

The New Workplace ICT Access and Communication
  • Learning on Demand Virtual Worlds
  • Environments that encourage continuous learning
    and encompass a variety of interactions and
  • Exposes employees to situations, circumstances,
    new opportunities and other kinds of interactions
    to assess behavior, provide learning, offer
    practice, develop collaborative activity, etc.
    more cheaply, frequently, with greater variation
    and more effectively than much time/place-bound

THE New Workplace ICT Access and Communication
  • Innovation
  • Not just research/institution-based a process
    by which new ideas enter the economy and change
    what is produced, how it is produced, and the way
    production itself is organized.
  • Information and communications technologies
    enable continuation of face-to-face interaction
    among individuals working remotely, or provide an
    extension of this interaction with colleagues in
    other regions and nations.
  • Purpose-developed teams

The Real Challenges for Workforce Development
Workforce Development Systems
  • Public Sector and Private Sector
  • ABE/ESL Federally funded share about 25 -
    just over 564M, providing access to fewer than 3
    million individuals (PY 2003)
  • ESL Estimates are that existing ESL programs
    serve fewer than 10-20 of the individuals who
    need instruction
  • WIA Employment and training programs under WIA
    served fewer than 800,000 adults and dislocated
    workers nationally in 2004 just over 400,000
    received training
  • Employers Most workforce development in the US
    is provided by employers to their employees or by
    employers in partnership with other organizations
    to individuals not yet in the workforce.
    Estimates of annual expenditures by employers for
    training range from 46 billion to 70 billion.
  • Community Based Organizations

The Real Challenges for Workforce
DevelopmentThe Role of Post-Secondary Education
  • Community and Technical Colleges
  • Certificate-based workforce development
  • Value-added Partnerships with employers
  • Workforce development services options for WIA
  • Path to 4-year colleges and universities
  • Challenge for hard to serve/hard to find
  • Inaccessibility
  • Limited ROI for short-term attendance
  • Distance learning instead of...

The Real Challenges for Workforce Development
The Hard to Serve and Hard to Find
  • Wages track closely to levels of education yet
    low wage workers face multiple barriers in
    acquiring the further education and training that
    can provide opportunities for getting and keeping
    jobs and for advancing to jobs with higher wages.
  • Individuals with low/no levels literacy, skill,
    ESL communication are not in typical marketing
  • Financial, family, transportation, education
    credentials, other issues make it difficult to
    impossible to participate in place-based,
    time-regulated instruction.

The Real Challenges for Workforce
DevelopmentDistance Learning
  • Evaluations RD demonstrate value of distance
  • Distance learning enables not only skill
    acquisition but also ability to navigate the
    information workplace and the information world
  • OECD 7-country survey of adult literacy found
    that in each of the 7 countries (which included
    the US), people who used computers consistently
    scored higher on average on the prose literacy
    scale than those who did not.
  • Trend in employment services provided by
    government programs including WIA is to rely
    on individual to find out about necessary
    education/training programs
  • Pew Internet and American Life Project found
    quite high percentages of
  • Internet users went online to do research on
    school or training

The Real Challenges for Workforce
DevelopmentDigital Literacy
  • Multi-nation survey found minimal differences in
    the intensity of computer use in occupations
    ranging from knowledge experts to high-skill
    information to low-skill service.
  • The ability to read text in English may not be
    the only initial route to knowledge.
  • Most formidable remaining hurdles to widespread
    adoption and successful practice in distance
  • Inability to use computers and the Internet
  • Lack of knowledge and experience that provides
    the foundation for distinguishing accurate and
    useful information from false and misleading
  • Barriers to obtaining degrees and certifications
    for learning outside of accredited institutions.

Workforce and Economic Development
AlignmentSample Practices
  • ConnectKentucky develops and implements effective
    strategies for technology deployment, use, and
    literacy in Kentucky, creating both the forum and
    the incentive for interaction among a variety of
    people and entities that would not otherwise
    unite behind common goals and a shared vision.
  • Michigan Regional Skills Alliances Locally
    managed partnerships formed to address strategic
    workforce issues affecting groups of firms
    operating in the same industry in a specific
  • Managed by MI Department of Labor Economic
    Growth which incorporates multiple labor and
    economic development agencies to promote job
    creation and economic growth in Michigan by
    centralizing and streamlining the state's job,
    workforce, and economic development functions
    under one department. Icludes
  • Bureau of Career Education, Offices of Adult
    Education, Postsecondary Services, and Labor
    Market Information Strategic Initiatives,
    Council for Labor Economic Growth, Office of,
    Bureau of Workforce Program, Michigan Opportunity
    Partnership, Veteran Services

Workforce and Economic Development
AlignmentSample Practices
  • Missouri Department of Economic
    Development/Division of Workforce Development
    Skilled Workforce Initiative
  • One Stop Career Center Enhancements Regional
    Skills Gap Incumbent Worker Skill Shortages
    Youth Skill Shortages and Capacity Building
    Business Retention Services Micro Enterprise
    Training and Support and Community Workforce
    Solutions for Low Income Populations.
  • Missouri Department of Elementary Secondary
  • Career Education Initiative
  • Career Clusters provide a way for schools to
    organize instruction and student experiences
    around 16 broad categories that encompass
    virtually all occupations from entry through
    professional levels. These groupings of
    occupations are used as an organizing tool for
    curriculum design, a model for guidance and
    instruction, and a mechanism for seamless
    transition from secondary education to
    postsecondary and/or career.

Aligning Economic and Workforce Development Is
this what we really should be talking about?
  • Education and workforce development in the United
    States is arguably being hindered by the very
    policies and systems that contributed to the
    nations success in the industrial economy.