It is widely accepted that the availability and continued pipeline of qualified talent is the most critical site selection driver for corporate projects. Site Selection Group, an independent location assists companies locate their labor and capital intensive operations, provides comprehensive workforce analytics for manufacturing operations, distribution centers, call centers, back office operations, data centers, and corporate headquarters.  

“It can be challenging to accurately assess the future pipeline of talent in a
candidate community,” said Josh Bays, Principal at Site Selection Group. “But the key indicators are there if you look hard enough.” 

For companies seeking confidence that a community can provide the necessary workforce skills on an on-going basis, Site Selection Group recommends making sure there are affirmative answers to the following three questions:

1.  Are the major employers helping develop high school and post-secondary curriculum?

One of the most common challenges in workforce development is the disconnect between academia and existing industry. There are far too many colleges and training institutions in the United States that are not adequately satisfying the real-time demands of employers. Those communities that excel at workforce development have an established platform for employers and educators to collaborate to ensure that graduates have the right training and skillsets to support local industry.   

2.  Do the existing employers have a successful history recruiting from local training institutions?

Many training institutions assert their ability to provide customized training and graduate placement for employers, but this boasting does not always translate into success in the eyes of local industry. It is critical to survey existing employers throughout the site selection process to understand their actual experiences working with these institutions over time.

3.  Does the local school system promote career awareness as early as middle school?

In many instances, the lack of candidate student supply can be a direct result of diminishing student interest in certain career fields. Often, this lack of interest is due to lack of awareness about certain career fields, specifically their requirements and economic opportunity. For example, many communities face challenges promoting attractive career opportunities in today’s advanced manufacturing sectors. It is incumbent on parents, educators and employers to promote a wide range of career opportunities for students as early as possible to ensure that those young men and women can fully develop their interests and skills.

Workforce development is a long-term proposition  
The overarching theme from these three questions is that developing a pipeline of adequate talent in a community requires significant partnering between local industry and primary, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions.

Companies often do not realize the full benefits of workforce planning for several years because the most robust workforce pipeline builds over time and across all levels of education. While it is critical for communities and their educational partners to demonstrate their ability to meet the short-term workforce needs of companies, such as developing a customized training program, it’s perhaps even more important to demonstrate a long-term, stable workforce pipeline.  In Site Selection Group’s experience, there are communities that have established that long-term training infrastructure for new and expanding companies to leverage when locating their projects.

 

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