September 28, 2015 by Luke Mason
Summary: San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) uses Emsi data (and other sources) to create up-to-date, shareable materials for use by educational organizations, jobseekers, journalists, and more. These materials include a series of reports that focus on the region’s priority sectors and an employment dashboard that provides a snapshot of San Diego’s labor market—both of which have been well-received by the San Diego community.
Not only is San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) the region’s sole workforce development board, it is also the No. 1 resource for local labor market information. Its staff spends a lot of time answering questions from educational institutions, jobseekers, journalists, and more: What opportunities are available? Which industries have low unemployment rates? Which sectors are likely to do well in the future?
In order to respond to these questions and educate people about strong career opportunities, SDWP used Emsi data (as well as other sources) to create a series of reports that focus on the region’s priority sectors, as well as an up-to-date employment dashboard that provides a snapshot of San Diego’s labor market. Accessed online, these resources help a wide audience gain an understanding of San Diego’s labor market.
Here are a few ways this information can be used:
This work has opened a variety of doors for SDWP. For example, as part of its New Skills at Work initiative, JPMorgan Chase & Co. funded a middle skills report that SDWP and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation are working on together (to be released later this year). Using Emsi data, SDWP is analyzing middle skill jobs, defined as any job that requires more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.
Read below for more on SDWP’s projects.
So far, SDWP has developed reports for five of its six priority sectors (a sixth report on the emerging specialty foods and microbreweries sector is forthcoming):
Labor market data, accessed via Emsi’s Analyst software, was integral to each of these studies. “We looked at pretty much everything that’s available in Analyst,” said Kelley Ring, senior business and research analyst at SDWP. “So we looked at industry and occupation data, both historic and projected growth. We also looked at annual job openings, male/female breakdowns, age breakdowns, basically every possible piece of information that you could have about each of the occupations.”
Collaboration was also key to SDWP’s success. San Diego’s community colleges partnered with SDWP’s research team in both analyzing the data and writing the reports. The community colleges also had access to Analyst, which allowed them to view and talk about the data without the necessity of a lot of in-person meetings or file sharing.
SDWP also conducted regional employer surveys. “We did a survey of employers in the region to get their expectations over the next twelve months, just to compare that with [Emsi’s] projections. And for the most part they were all spot-on—or at least close,” Ring said.
SDWP’s work has already resulted in real-world changes. “[The local community colleges] were using the research to make changes to their curriculum as it was ongoing,” Ring said.
“UCSD Extension worked on the advanced manufacturing study, and the team was really excited because it was able to promote all the sectors a little bit more,” Ring said. “The university can use the findings to inform students of opportunities in San Diego and encourage them to stay. A lot of people leave San Diego because they think there aren’t those opportunities available to them and our research shows otherwise.”
The K-12 education system is also using the reports, especially since SDWP provided schools with posters that summarize the data in attractive and easy-to-understand displays (click the poster on right to expand). Through this outreach, SDWP introduces students at an early age to exciting opportunities in the region.
A lot of the takeaways are important across education systems. For example, there needs to be a stronger focus on soft skills, Ring said. During the study, employers complained that the region’s deficiencies largely lie in these skills—such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and how to be professional.
SDWP’s labor market dashboard is a time-saver. It saves time for jobseekers, journalists, organizations, employers, and others who need information about San Diego’s labor market. The dashboard answers questions about unemployment, job growth, job openings, degree attainment, self-sufficiency wages, gross domestic product, and more.
In most cases, SDWP updates the dashboard as often as the source data becomes available. And a lot of the data is readily available in Analyst, making the updating process much easier than if Ring’s team had to comb through several source websites. “The ease of use was really awesome. Just being able to go in and click a couple of buttons, type in a SOC code, and just have all the data pop up is really nice,” Ring said.
SDWP has big plans for the next dashboard update, too. SDWP will soon release a version with more labor market information, including findings from the industry reports and more information about in-demand jobs.
About San Diego Workforce Partnership
The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) is the leader for innovative workforce solutions in San Diego County. It funds job training programs that enable adults and youth to develop the skills and knowledge needed for careers that are in demand. SDWP also provides current and projected labor market research on the region’s workforce trends and key industries. Its vision is to ensure that every business in our region has access to a skilled workforce and every job seeker has access to meaningful employment. For more information, visit workforce.org.
Emsi turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help workforce planners, regional developers, and other organizations build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions.