Analysis of Regional Workforce Assets Nears Conclusion

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A comprehensive study of the Southeast Region’s labor resources has concluded a critical phase of data-gathering from educators, economic developers and other regional shareholders. Chris Beacham, who is leading the study, presented a progress report in September to the Commission’s board of directors. The Commission is sponsoring the analysis with financial support from the North Carolina Workforce Commission and the federal government.

Mr. Beachem, principal at Carrboro, N.C.-based RTS, Inc., has met with top leaders from the Southeast’s universities, community colleges and public school systems. He has also reached out to business leaders, county economic development professionals and representatives from allied organizations such as the BRAC Regional Task Force.  “Everyone in the region has been very receptive to us,” says Mr. Beacham. Along with the face-to-face meetings, RTS has collected input via online surveys. “We listen a lot,” he says. “People have been willing to talk to us for as long as we’re able to listen.”

RTS will hone its findings and craft a comprehensive set of recommendations for the region to successfully align labor assets with the evolving needs of the Southeast’s most promising industry clusters. One specific area Mr. Beacham and his colleagues are exploring: how best to coordinate the existing patchwork of programs aimed at producing more workers with scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics backgrounds. Such “STEM” strategies now vary somewhat across the 11-county region, Mr. Beacham says. As part of the analysis, RTS will produce a list of goals and strategic recommendations, including advice on how richer arrays of workforce data can enhance regional marketing programs.