Fresh back from three days in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can’t help but agree with our guests: This was the best EMSI conference yet.
Fantastic speakers. Insightful presentations. Thought-provoking discussions. Great fellowship. And with bright skies and warm breezes, the fine September weather completely outdid itself.
Attended by over 120 EMSI clients and guests, the fifth annual EMSI conference centered around the theme “Know Your Workforce: Understanding the Intersection of Talent and Careers.” The focus provided the best integration yet of the various goals within higher education, workforce/economic development, and business, and proved how vital it is for professionals from each field to work together.
From start the finish, the conference reinvigorated us about why we do what we do and also strengthened our profound gratitude for our clients. Without their faithful labors, nothing we do at EMSI would mean anything, and we are indeed fortunate to work alongside such dedicated, passionate customers to change people’s lives in our country and around the world.
Read more details and download the conference presentations below.
Monday, September 21
The conference began Monday with golf on the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s world-famous course that includes a floating green in Lake Coeur d’Alene. An evening reception of drinks and hors d’oeuvres opened time for EMSI personnel and clients to mingle.
Tuesday, September 22
Conference Introduction — Andrew Crapuchettes, EMSI
“We are here to change lives,” said EMSI CEO Andrew Crapuchettes in the kickoff presentation, reminding the conference audience (comprised of 46% higher education, 34% economic/workforce development, and 20% corporations) that our joint mission is all about “getting people the right job so they can have a better life.”
Kicking off #EMSI2015 “Getting people the right job so they can have a better life” Andrew Crapuchettes
— Lori Kelley-Burdine (@LBK323) September 22, 2015
Keynote: Dashboard Confessional: The State of Data in Regional Development — Brian Kelsey, Civic Analytics
“Data always trumps frameworks—and buzzwords.” – Brian Kelsey, Civic Analytics
Brian Kelsey from Civic Analytics opened with a powerful keynote tackling several key questions: How should we use labor market data? How has it been misused? How is data is shaping labor market opportunities and challenges, and can we do anything about them? “Data must inspire, it must tell a good story, and it must prompt people to do something better,” he said.
Panel — Moderator: Brian Kelsey. Panelists: Colby Spencer-Cesaro (WIN), Al Adamsen (TSI), Sue Mukherjee (PASSHE), Noah Brown (ACCT)
Under discussion: Students can’t afford to wait until college to figure out their career interests, so how can K-12 use data to better relate to postsecondary education? With no constraints, what does success look like and how do we measure it? How do we use labor market data to solve this?
“Degrees are no substitute for skills.” Which makes the competency-based ed model exciting. — Noah Brown, CEO of @CCTrustees.
— EMSI (@desktopecon) September 22, 2015
Breakout: How SC Tennessee Workforce Alliance Became a Regional Leader in Workforce & Economic Development — Jan McKeel, South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance
Jan McKeel shared examples of how the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance (SCTWA) uses data to improve its workforce development efforts. Data has helped SCTWA determine the programs it funds, ensure that customers reach the appropriate level of training, work with prospective or expanding employers evaluate the availability of skilled labor, and launch the project of a lifetime: the Workforce Development and Conference Center at Northfield. (Read our case study on the Northfield project.)
Breakout: Why Companies Are Increasingly Using Data to Inform Their Talent Strategy — Al Adamsen, Talent Strategy Institute
Al Adamsen presented an invigorating, fast-paced overview of talent strategy and workforce planning. How do you find the right people? Where and how should you recruit? He gave us the four Cs of workforce planning: capability, capacity, cost, construct.
Breakout: Establishing Industry-Focused and Academically Sound Career and Technical Education Programs — Nick Real, Cerritos College
One of 27 community colleges in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, Cerritos College has a competitive advantage but also faces a high standard for program excellence. Using EMSI data, the college has ensured that its career technical education programs are both academically sound and industry-focused in order to serve the community’s needs. (Read EMSI’s case study on Cerritos College.)
Breakout: Action Research: Tips & Techniques for Leveraging Data to Build a Better Workforce — Colby Spencer-Cesaro, Workforce Intelligence Network
Colby Spencer-Cesaro took us through real-life project examples where high-quality data and analysis were game changers for solving workforce problems—whether it’s for community colleges, WIBs, economic developers, or national research institutes. For example, WIN used EMSI data to identify trending occupations and workforce gaps so that community colleges could strategize whom to recruit and what to train for. WIN also used data to help workforce investment boards determine where to make a quick investment for strong impact. When it comes to getting data out quickly, especially for site selection requests, Colby said: “Thank God EMSI exists.”
Breakout: Connecting Labor Market Data to Business Challenges — Corey Bucher, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
How has Lowe’s used insight from labor market data to enable business success? Corey Bucher, director of workforce research and advanced analytics at Lowe’s, demonstrated the process of connecting data (both internal and external) to real business challenges. Does your scarce talent have a desire to stay with your company? (Internal data.) Do candidates with scarce skills want to join your company? (External data.) Does your scarce talent have an opportunity to leave? (Internal.) Do you have opportunities for scarce talent in the labor market? (External.)
Corey also stressed the need for context, without which all data is “incorrect and misleading,” and gave three keys to a successful labor market analytics program: 1) An experienced cross-functional team is critical for avoiding pitfalls in workforce data; 2) If the data seems unusual, get a second opinion or triangulation of the data; 3) A good understanding or data structures is vital to success.
Breakout: Strengthening Department of Labor & Adult Basic Education Grant Programs With Career Coach & Analyst — Melissa Schroeder, Nancy Holman, and Garner Presser, College of Southern Nevada
“A lot of [students] have changed their careers or their ideas for their careers based on Career Coach.” – Garner Presser, College of Southern Nevada
Student and business success: These are two goals for the College of Southern Nevada as it puts Analyst and Career Coach to work to guide students’ educational and professional decisions and assist in business development in Southern Nevada.
The luxurious two-hour dinner cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been a crowd favorite year over year—one of the best opportunities for networking as well as enjoying the gorgeous Pacific Northwest at sundown.
Wednesday, September 23
Plenary: Connecting Higher Ed With Cluster-Led Economic Development: The Walla Walla Story — Steve VanAusdle, Walla Walla Community College
President Steve VanAusdle shared Walla Walla Community College’s success story of transforming its economy through its Institute for Enology and Viticulture, a crucial part of the region’s bustling wine cluster.
“This is key to the Walla Walla story: What we do best, we do together,” he said, encouraging other institutions to spend their resources where they will do the most good. “We can close the skills gap by reallocating scarce resources. It’s painful, but it’ll work.”
“Make talent your top priority.” – Steve VanAusdle, Walla Walla Community College
Steve concluded with a charge to every organization—whether higher education, workforce development, economic development, or public sector—striving to promote economic prosperity.
“Those communities that can attract and retain the best talent will win the 21st century,” he said. “Make talent your top priority…. And be strategic about it so your talent aligns with your clusters.”
Breakout: Innovations in Economic Research for Community and Economic Development — Jennifer Zeller, Georgia Power
“We have access to information that can really change the world,” Jennifer Zeller said, illustrating how Georgia Power has combined EMSI data with data from other sources to tell a complete story for a community, region, or state. “There is so much information out there to tell your story.”
Breakout: The Challenge for HR Professionals: Using Workforce Analytics to Support Business Strategy and Fact-Based Decision-Making — Lindsay Scott, Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company
“EMSI, to me, is the gold standard of labor and economic information.” – Lindsay Scott, Buck Consultants
Lindsay Scott discussed how human resource professionals can (and must) use the increasingly advanced tools and information sources available to them to make strategic decisions in business operations. Using fact-based analytics, HR departments can customize programs, provide more targeted support for specific business operations initiatives, and—with the appropriate datasets and analytic protocols—deliver truly predictive models for business initiatives and outcomes.
Breakout: What Happens After Data? — Dr. Bert Glandon, College of Western Idaho (with Brian Points, EMSI)
While conducting its 20-year strategic plan, the College of Western Idaho partnered with EMSI to provide a big-picture perspective on the local and national economy, conduct interviews with regional business leaders, and offer best practices on what other community colleges are doing in situations similar to CWI. But while prudent use of data vital for planning, there is much more to this process than simply collecting and analyzing data. Bert Glandon and Brian Points discussed what happened after data that led to improved outcomes for CWI.
Panel — Moderator: Brian Kelsey. Panelists: B.P. Walker (Graduate School USA), Corey Bucher (Lowe’s), Jan McKeel (SCTWA), Kristi Wellington-Baker (Walla Walla Community College)
Brian Kelsey continued the discussion from Tuesday’s panel, this time probing for specific recommended solutions to our economic challenges. Topics included the question, Why is there a disconnect between educators and employers, and what can we do about it? One important fact to remember in solving this, as Corey Bucher pointed out, is that the wording of job titles change daily; hence, monthly or quarterly meetings between employers and educators aren’t enough.
— EMSI (@desktopecon) September 23, 2015
Corey Bucher of Lowe’s: “People don’t find people; computers find people.” Big reason why the wording people use on their resumes matter.
— EMSI (@desktopecon) September 23, 2015
Roundtables, Dessert, and a Giveaway
EMSI economists and members of our data and product development teams joined our clients in helpful roundtable discussions regarding how EMSI can serve them even better. The conference concluded with dessert and a social media giveaway. Those who posted about #EMSI2015 on Twitter or LinkedIn during the conference were entered to win an iPad mini. Congrats to Melissa Schroeder from the College of Southern Nevada for taking home the prize!
We are already looking forward to next year! Email Jenny Tarrant to be the first to hear our plans for the 2016 EMSI conference.
For more information about EMSI data and what we do for higher education, workforce/economic development, and businesses, please contact us. Follow EMSI on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.