Workforce Analysis Moves Toward Implementation Phase

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Analysts at Regional Technology Strategies, Inc., (RTS) are nearing completion of an unprecedented regional assessment of the Southeast’s workforce needs and assets. The RTS research team has interviewed educators, company HR officials, economic developers and others during a process that began in 2011. “We’ve effectively finished our analysis, reviews and surveys,” says Chris Beacham, principal at the Carrboro-based firm. Mr. Beacham’s team will hold public meetings in Fayetteville and Brunswick County in April and May to solicit additional input before finalizing their conclusions and issuing recommendations. Among its findings is anticipated job growth in the region’s energy and consumer foods industry clusters over coming years.

As important, RTS researchers are joining Southeast Commission leaders in presenting their findings to state officials and philanthropic entities. “We’ve done a tour of the important players from a support standpoint – the Golden LEAF, the JOBS Commission, the N.C. Rural Center and the Community College System – to present our initial findings and get their input about moving forward,” Mr. Beacham says. Such groups could assist the region and its workforce development organizations in executing RTS recommendations. “They are comfortable with the way we’ve gone about it and are interested in supporting it,” he adds.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) also remains supportive of the assessment and its findings. EDA, along with North Carolina’s Southeast and the North Carolina Workforce Commission, have jointly funded the project thus far. Recommendations will likely include a call to shape specialized community college curricula around the needs of the region’s target industry clusters, hints Mr. Beacham.