ELKHART, INDIANA, JULY 13, 2012. – A coalition of regional stakeholders has launched a workforce and talent initiative aimed at filling existing positions and developing long-term solutions for talent attraction and development. The effort is led by the Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth (CPEG: www.cpeg.org), WorkOne, and the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County, Fulton Economic Development Organization, Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, Marshall County Economic Development Corporation and the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.
“The regional workforce initiative has three important goals” explains CPEG President and CEO Shawn Peterson, “Fill existing positions; assess emerging industries; and develop a complete workforce plan through 2020. We believe the time is right to look at our challenges and opportunities for workforce development and talent attraction as a region – not just by county or by industry.”
CPEG is supported by the region’s economic development organizations who understand the workforce and talent needs of our region’s key employers. “Workforce is critical for the success of economic development” states Dorinda Heiden-Guss, President of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “Our region needs to deliver results on these workforce issues.”
“I listen to the needs of a wide range of employers, and I am pleased that we have decided as a region to get in front of this issue and prioritize development of a regional workforce strategy,” said Jennifer Laurent, Executive Director of Marshall County Economic Development. “There are national studies supporting evidence of the skills gaps we hear of locally. But we see this as an important opportunity to engage our industry and education leaders in the conversation.”
For the launch of the initiative, CPEG has enlisted the services of Indianapolis based consulting firm Thomas P. Miller and Associates who has developed a workforce survey that will quantify the number of open positions, assess skills gaps, and identify barriers to company growth as it relates to workforce issues.
“There is no issue more important to our local economic development efforts than a quality workforce,” said Jeff Rea, President of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce. “Our manufacturers believe that finding the quality workforce will help them grow and expand. I’m excited about this effort by our regional partners and CPEG to develop an action plan that will help address this key issue.”
The survey also looks at barriers to talent attraction and retaining young professionals. In this area CPEG has engaged regional education providers to gain their input and support for the process and its goals.
“Our region is known for high skill levels, innovation, invention and entrepreneurship,” stated George Robertson, President of Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation. “The retention of talent and the recruitment of talent is critical to sustaining and growing our economic base.”
Survey results will be compiled at the end of July to inform work session held in each county and focused on identifying solutions to address the barriers to filling existing positions.
If you are an employer in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall or St. Joseph counties and wish to participate in the Regional Workforce Survey, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/7m7grf3
If you are a community organization interested in participating in this initiative, please contact the Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth at [email protected].