Four Strategic Steps Economic Development Organizations Can Take to Bolster Workforce Development

Four Strategic Steps Economic Development Organizations Can Take to Bolster Workforce Development Main Photo

28 Nov 2022

News, Workforce, Strategic Plan

Employers across the U.S. have been facing extreme workforce challenges.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total non-farm employment continued to grow, adding 261,000 jobs in October. This ongoing imbalance between labor demand and supply means that there are 10.7 million jobs still available, but only 5.7 million people are unemployed. Those numbers boil down to almost 1.9 unfilled positions for every job seeker.

As the labor market continues to grow and show signs of strength, this imbalance isn’t going to self-correct any time soon. For more in-depth insight, you can read our recent article, “Understanding Labor Force Participation Rates & Why People Drop Out of the Workforce.”

Keep Your Community Competitive

Economic development organizations that fully acknowledge the interdependence between business prosperity and workforce development do four strategic things to keep their communities competitive:

Think Long Term

When it comes to attracting and retaining workers, looking at today’s job market isn’t enough. It’s vital to envision an ideal future for the community from an employment standpoint and work toward that end.

Support Remote Workers

Many employers have implemented, or are looking to implement, flexible work-from-anywhere policies to entice and retain skilled workers. This doesn’t always mean “work from anywhere.” It often means that local full-time employees can now show up at the office far fewer than five days a week. According to Staffing Industry Analysis, a recent Morning Consult poll for Bloomberg revealed that 39% of U.S. adults would consider leaving their jobs if remote work were no longer an option. When it comes to Millennial and Gen Z employees, that percentage rises to 49%.

It’s important for economic developers to understand that because remote work is relatively new in many sectors, efficiency and company cohesiveness are still challenging. For example, according to a recent report by Deloitte, remote workers spend 25% of their time looking for information they need to do their jobs. Given this reality, successful economic development organizations understand which major employers in their communities offer, or would like to offer, “work-from-home options.” That knowledge can help them support initiatives to give access to high-quality training and tools. Hence, businesses and employees feel supported in their quest to work as efficiently, cohesively, and effectively as possible.

Treat Workforce Development with Special Diplomacy

Economic development organizations know that implementing a solid Workforce Ambassador Program will make attracting talent easier.

Get Your Board Onboard

Economic developers know initiatives are always far more successful for those who have mastered the art and science of communicating well with their Boards.

Take Action

In today’s market, nobody will bring jobs to town unless they’re confident they’ll find an abundance of the skilled workers they need. Taking strategic steps to bolster workforce development matters more than ever before.

When it comes to workforce attraction and retention, Golden Shovel Agency stays on top of key economic development-related issues, including industry standards, trends, and news. If you’d like to learn more about attracting and retaining workers in today’s challenging market, we invite you to take advantage of our free resources. Explore our library of workforce development articles, including the best practices for growing your workforce, and download our Workforce Shortages Whitepaper. For more information, contact Golden Shovel Agency today. We’ve been helping economic development organizations like yours overcome workforce development challenges for years.