While much work has been done in recent years by Baton Rouge area businesses, schools and government bodies toward meeting the area’s increasing skilled workforce needs, a new report from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber says more work needs to be done to meet the worker demand in the midst of the current economic boom.
Specifically, BRAC recommends a marketing push to destigmatize careers that do not require a four-year college degree; building employer-trainer partnerships, such as customized training, to guarantee the local workforce can adapt as the skills needed for certain occupations shift; and coordinating data involving projected occupations demand and workforce output.
“Overall, stakeholders in the region have recognized the areas of the local workforce that need the most attention, and have responded accordingly,” reads the BRAC report, issued this morning. “Going forward, it would be advisable to continue workforce programs that have shown promise, replicate those that appear to be successful in other regions, and clarify the numbers behind our workforce solution.”
BRAC says that this year alone, announced economic development projects will create an additional 1,463 new jobs in the region. Occupations in the skilled craft (specialty trade contractors and construction), health care (ambulatory and hospitals), and professional services areas represent the greatest growth and demand.
“The purpose of this report is to guarantee that regional stakeholders are taking all possible steps to ensure a robust workforce, which is imperative to continuing the Capital Region’s economic boom, as well as to provide the skills and training necessary for the region’s citizens to seize opportunities for new or better careers,” reads the BRAC report.
BRAC notes that the Center for Planning Excellence will soon release a companion report—“Entering the Pipeline: Engaging Disconnected Workers in our Regional Economy”—identifying barriers to entering training for growing fields and focusing on resources to engage the underserved.
“Collectively, the two reports shine a light on the current state of affairs of the regional workforce and offer specific recommendations to improve educational and employment opportunities to ensure that citizens are prepared to take advantage of economic opportunities,” says BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp in a prepared statement.