A Taste of Talent Development: Talent Trends

To support a workforce that satisfies employer demand and to position the Baton Rouge Area favorably for economic growth, BRAC executes a variety of initiatives to cultivate the region’s talent. The talent development program focuses on two aspects – recruitment and retention of talented professionals in the nine-parish regionAs highlighted by Development Counsellors International in a recent blog post about talent attraction case studies, Baton Rouge boasts nearly 32,000 students at our local universities and community colleges. Through our talent development work, we often see many local companies recruiting students from FranU, Southern University and LSU for internships and entry-level jobs.  

But what about our robust community colleges? 

With this question still lingering in my mind, when I read ‘Big Tech’s Hot New Talent Incubator: Community College’ article in the Wall Street Journal, it caught my attention for a few reasons. The trend of companies sourcing and further developing talent from community colleges isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon for industries like skilled craft and manufacturing, but it is taking off quickly in other fields like technology.  

With Baton Rouge Community College and River Parishes Community College in our own backyard, my question is now how can Baton Rouge Area companies take advantage of this rich talent pool? 

Here are a few thoughts on this trend and how we can all capitalize.  

Less Debt, Higher Salary

More and more high school students and graduates are considering a community college over a four-year university. And it’s no wonder with our graduates being burdened with about $1.4 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) in student loan debt. According to the WSJ article, nearly 30 percent of workers with an associate degree out-earned those with a bachelor’s degree: “in other words, no one should be surprised when someone with an associate degree in cloud computing out-earns someone with a bachelor’s in English literature.” 

  • Student (and high school career counselor) takeaway: Not every job demands a four-year degree. Know your options. 
  • Employer takeaway: Between BRCC and RPCC, there’s approximately 10,000 students who want and need on-the-job training via apprenticeships and internships. 

Build it and they will come

Community colleges are often flexible when it comes to adapting curriculum to industry needs. Do you have a job that is routinely unstaffed or sees high turnover? Community colleges are open to developing the right talent to match your needs. A bonus is their students graduate or complete their certification at a faster rate than bachelor’s degrees. 

If your entire industry is lacking for talent, perhaps you could just build the pipeline yourself. Take the Baton Rouge Community College McKay Automotive Technology Center, for example. In a Business Report feature, multiple auto dealerships cited a desperate need for technicians, so several individuals and dealers decided to build a state-of-the-art facility to train their own talent.  

  • Student takeaway: Community college and company partnerships provide an even faster route to a potentially high-wage career.  
  • Employer takeaway: You don’t have to build a multi-million-dollar facility, but you do have several options in influencing the curriculum to support your workforce needs. Contact one of our community colleges to recruit students, partner with a professor and their class, meet with the department chairs to discuss curriculum changes, etc.  

Our Community Colleges

Luckily for all of us in the Baton Rouge Area, we have two community colleges with faculty, staff and students who want to partner. Just give them a call and they can help connect you to the right departments, professors and students. 

Baton Rouge Community College – Toni Weaver Myer, myert@mybrcc.edu  

River Parishes Community College – Bruce Waguespack, bwaguespack@rpcc.edu 

To learn more about how your organization can start or expand your internship or apprenticeship offerings, contact BRAC’s director of talent development. BRAC is an investor-driven organization leading economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area. One of BRAC’s strategic goals is to cultivate the region’s talent to meet workforce demands and each month we highlight one of our talent development initiatives. To learn more about our talent development strategies and resources, contact our director of talent development. 

Melissa Thompson

Melissa leads all aspects of BRAC’s talent development program, including talent attraction and orientation. She works in partnership with employers to provide services that complement existing human resources recruitment practices.

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