• Education & Talent Development

    WORKFORCE READINESS

     

    DESTINATION

    The region's workforce skills adapt and match industry needs and support family-sustaining wages.

     

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

 

As the global economy continues to shift toward higher-skilled work and job requirements change, substantial numbers of high-skilled jobs are going unfilled across the US. A recent survey of US companies found that 30 percent of them had positions open for more than six months that they could not fill. This mismatch between available talent and employer needs represents a serious threat to growth for businesses and to opportunity for individuals. If employers are unable to find or train the workforce they need in the Philadelphia region, they may resort to outsourcing or even relocation to compete. On an individual level, workforce training investments and career ladder opportunities pave the way for the final steps along the cradle-to-career journey to family-sustaining wages

HOW DO WE CURRENTLY FARE? 

Early Learning
School Readiness
Pre-K Access
Early Literacy
K-12 Education
On-time Graduation
Disconnected Youth
College & Career Readiness
Postsecondary Credentials
Degrees & Certificates Awarded
Educational Attainment
Workforce Readiness
Poverty Rate
Labor Force Participation
Median Income
School Readiness
With New Jersey's adoption of an implementation plan in 2016, all three states in our region are on the path to using standardized kindergarten readiness assessments to improve early learning and help close achievement gaps.
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PROGRESS TOWARD IMPLEMENTING STANDARDIZED KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS (2016)

WORLD CLASS STRATEGIES

 

EXPAND EMPLOYER-LED WORKFORCE EFFORTS

The skills that workers need to compete in the 21st century are rapidly evolving.  As our economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, it will be more important than ever for businesses to work with community colleges, four-year colleges, nonprofit job training providers, and the public workforce system to ensure a ready workforce and opportunities for all regional residents. Since businesses are constantly changing their models to adapt to the competitive global economy, workers need to be constantly learning as well. 

 

Promising Pathways

 

EXPANDING EXISTING INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP MODELS FOR EMPLOYER-LED WORKFORCE EFFORTS

 

Pennsylvania is nationally recognized for its industry partnership model, which brings together employers within specific sectors to better understand and shape workforce investments. This model should be refined and expanded to help meet and forecast evolving workforce needs and ensure that public and private workforce investments are focused on priority industries and existing needs.

 

INCREASING EMPLOYER USAGE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND PUBLIC WORKFORCE SYSTEMS

 

The region’s community colleges have a history of innovation and providing effective workforce training to area employers. Increasing community college capacity through new funding sources will enable the development and expansion of industry-valued credential and certificate programs that serve employer needs. In addition, the current reorganization of the public workforce system within the City of Philadelphia into one new lead organization, Philadelphia Works, marks an opportunity to significantly increase usage among regional employers.

 

GENERATING DETAILED LABOR MARKET INTELLIGENCE FOR THE REGION

 

Currently, Greater Philadelphia lacks a clear go-to labor market data information center to serve as a resource for secondary and postsecondary institutions, workforce development organizations, and job seekers. Developing a more in-depth and current understanding of regional workforce skills and gaps across key sectors will be a critical step in mapping career ladders and designing programs that can provide low-skilled workers with opportunities to increase their skill levels and earnings over time.

 

INCREASING RESOURCES FOR INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING

 

Greater investment in incumbent worker training makes for a higher skilled and more flexible workforce and encourages movement along career ladders at all levels. Incumbent worker investments within clearly identified career ladder systems – both within and across industries – have been shown to increase opportunities for lower-skilled workers who gain new opportunities to increase their skills and earnings in entry-level positions.

BUILD CORE COMPETENCIES TO PREPARE INDIVIDUALS FOR ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
 

With some estimates of the number of low-literacy adults in Philadelphia at more than 500,000, one of the biggest challenges to workforce readiness success in our region is the large number of adults who lack the foundational, as well as technical, skills to compete. These un- or under-employed individuals require substantial investments to be in a position to earn family-sustaining wages. While many past short-term interventions have yielded minimal long-term benefits, programs focusing on contextualized learning with clear connections to career ladders have proven considerably more successful.  

 

Promising Pathways

 

INCREASING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCES FOCUSED ON CORE COMPETENCIES, SUCH AS LITERACY AND WORKPLACE SKILLS

 

Currently, public workforce funding is too restricted to provide adequate literacy and foundational skills training for the region. In addition, the minimal public dollars allocated for these adult education services have been shrinking in recent years. Given the significant number of adults in our region who lack the basic skills to succeed in today’s workforce, there is a clear need to both increase the flexibility of existing resources and find new funding sources to support effective, accessible programs.

 

USING CONTEXTUAL LEARNING AND "EARN AND LEARN" MODELS FOR LITERACY AND OTHER CORE COMPETENCIES

 

“Earn and learn” programs provide educational and technical experience simultaneously, as individuals are placed in entry-level employment in high-need jobs while they continue their education part-time. These contextualized learning programs pair on-the-job learning with classroom learning, with the goal of moving people into career ladder pipelines.

ALIGN EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROGRAMS WITH REGIONAL ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
 

Effective K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions provide the crucial foundations for a prepared workforce. Beyond ensuring that students have the kinds of basic and advanced skills that employers require, high school and colleges offer crucial exposure and information about types of careers and futures studies to pursue. To fill these roles well, they must have strong relationships with private industry that allow them to understand the kinds of skills and knowledge students will need to establish successful careers and tailor teaching and curricula accordingly. These relationships between area employers and secondary and postsecondary schools can help in filling current or long-standing workforce skill gaps where supply has not met employer demand, such as with STEM-related degrees and careers, and are especially important in developing career and technical education (CTE) programs that feed into existing opportunities.

 

Promising Pathways

 

CONNECTING BUSINESSES AND HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS TO PLAN, STRUCTURE PROGRAMS, AND MAP ASSETS

 

Better coordination between educational and the business leaders can help ensure that degree and certification programs offered match up with economic and job opportunities available in the region.

 

INTEGRATING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION INTO LARGER MISSIONS AT SECONDARY AND POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS

 

Educational institutions can help keep students engaged and on-track to graduate by continually reinforcing the connection between college and/or vocational training and the kinds of opportunities that are available to them.

 

ASSIGNING CREDITS TO INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING THAT CAN COUNT TOWARD DEGREE OR CERTIFICATION COMPLETION

 

While there have been several successful examples of this in the region, much more could be done to ensure that workers who are already getting significant on-the-job training can apply this “coursework” to a degree or certification they are already pursuing.