Pennsylvania is doing great things with a demand-driven workforce system that connects economic development and industry-led initiatives with workforce training programs. Part of their planning strategy is to allocate more funding to occupations they have identified as “high-priority” using a sophisticated data-driven methodology.
Workforce3One has posted an overview of the state’s methodology (free registration required).
The basic steps are to start with industry clusters that important to the state and its local areas, identify occupations within those clusters, and then filter the resulting occupations for strong growth potential and high wages (must be “family-sustaining”). Finally, local knowledge and regional factors are taken into account to ensure that the high-level data and projections have not overlooked anything (for example, the impending arrival of a new, large employer, which would not yet show up in the state’s labor market data.)
This rigorous process is not only industry-oriented but also increases the likelihood that state and federal money spent on training will see a return on investment. Training workers for high-demand, high-wage occupations will result of higher worker incomes and subsequently fewer demands on public services.