Industry Skills Gaps

Initiate skills gap analyses using expanded student reporting, labor market information and industry feedback to assess alignments between education and workforce programs and labor market demand.

State Blueprint in Action

Florida is creating a “Supply and Demand” model that will allow policymakers to better align education and training supply with actual employer demand, while allowing consumers and others to be better informed about the hiring needs of employers in their local area. The supply side will include enrollees and completers from a variety of education and training programs, including Workforce Investment Act and Wagner-Peyser programs, postsecondary technical education, Florida College System programs, Florida Public Universities’ programs, and private technical and academic institutions overseen by the Commission on Independent Education. Enrollee data will allow users to see the upcoming pipeline of future completers and graduates. The demand side will include real-time data on job openings from the Conference Board’s Help Wanted On-Line system and state labor market information, including average annual occupational openings data that provide a long-term outlook.

Mississippi uses its state longitudinal data system, commonly known as LifeTracks, as a marketing tool for the expansion of jobs in the state. For example, the Yokohama Tire Corporation is building a new manufacturing plant in the state that could provide up to 2,000 jobs. When the company was searching for a site, executives had questions about whether the region had a workforce with the skills they needed. The National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) at Mississippi State University, which manages LifeTracks, was able to provide answers. Researchers used longitudinal data to make projections about numbers of high school career and technical education students who could take courses at area community colleges to get them ready for the new jobs. They also looked at the number of current workers in the region with the necessary credentials. The data helped to assure Yokohama that they would be able to find qualified employees for the new facility.

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