Mary Beth Marshall
DuPage Workforce Board
EMSI’s labor market and education data played a key role in a Workforce Boards of Metropolitan Chicago report that highlights the growing need to bolster the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills of the region’s workforce. The Chicago area has dealt with a rash of significant layoff events recently, and Mary Beth Marshall, Executive Director of the DuPage Workforce Board, one of seven in a regional consortium, says STEM occupations have been targeted as a possible pipeline for dislocated workers. The report detailed that STEM occupations are projected to grow 8% through 2013 in metro Chicago, and that 67% of Illinois’ STEM workforce comes from the region. It also showed the top 20 high-demand STEM occupations, based on new and replacement jobs, and the education and training requirements needed to move into STEM occupations. Many of the occupations, like Dietetic technicians, require on-the-job training rather than a four-year degree. According to Marshall, metro Chicago has a bounty of available, skilled workers ready to move into high-wage STEM jobs. “Chicago was ranked No. 8 in the top global cities, and a lot of that had to do with the human capital and the quality of folks in terms of education and all that’s offered in the region – the education capacity,” she says.