From the President…. Global Economy Demands Globally Competitive Labor

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In the span of only a few decades, North Carolina’s Southeast Region has evolved from a quiet collection of local economies into a regional business community working aggressively to compete in a noisy, fast-moving worldwide marketplace. The change can be seen across our industrial landscape as new infrastructure, industrial assets and commercial amenities have taken shape. All that essentially remains the same is our one greatest economic resource: our workers.

Even as technology takes a more visible role in production, human factors remain central to the success of companies, communities and regions. In my 20 years in economic development, I can’t recall a single project wherein access to quality workers was not a pivotal factor in a company’s search.  Business decisions are more often than not made by people and about people, and this is unlikely to change. That’s why North Carolina’s Southeast is working diligently this year to conduct a comprehensive analysis of our region’s workforce assets. Leveraging funding support from our state and federal government partners, we’ve engaged the services of RTS, Inc., a top consulting firm specializing in workforce strategies. RTS is expected to report its findings and recommendations in early 2012.

In conducting a wide array of personal interviews with educators and business leaders across the region, the consulting group is attempting to identify the strengths and deficiencies of our labor assets as they align with the Southeast’s target industry clusters. The analysis, while assessing current worker skills and employer needs, is also a forward-looking gauge of what these industries will require in the future and how our educational providers can begin positioning future workforce members for a competitive edge in the global economy. Looking downrange at our human resource needs also will give top industry clusters -- advanced textiles, logistics and biotechnology, to name only three -- the evidence they need that the Southeast is their go-to region for additional jobs and capital investment.  

Look to hear more about this important study as the consulting team finalizes its work. Its recommendations will go far in defining our economic landscape for coming generations.




Steve Yost