How people use Emsi data: discover, strategize, lead, build relationships
One of the most frequent questions we get around here is, “How do people use Emsi data?” Great question!
Our clients use Emsi data to understand the demand for educational programs, identify the skills that employers need, communicate the value of higher education to parents and students, connect jobseekers to the labor market, find the right talent, and so much more.
But over time, a common pattern has emerged. No matter the use or application, almost every client uses Emsi data to do the following:
First, our clients use Emsi data to discover the world around them. They use the vast troves of data to see and sense hidden things. Ambiguous things. Hard-to-understand things. Surprising things. New trends. Growing industries. In-demand occupations. Emerging skills. And more.
Essentially, the first step is simply to know. While it’s easy to be dominated by anecdotes, emotion, feelings, or strongly held opinions, our clients use Emsi data to get the facts.
Aligning education to foster economic development – A local city council wants to fund a tourism and hospitality marketing initiative. But the local community college and chamber of commerce discover that a specific set of small manufacturers are actually driving more money into the community and are the source of most of the new job growth and higher paying jobs. This isn’t a popular idea, but they decide to use data to make their case to focus on the manufacturers. After a series of meetings, the region decides to move forward with a plan to support and bolster the community’s manufacturers, based on hard intel that this will be a better use of funds and will grow their community more.
Talent acquisition – A business needs to hire cybersecurity talent, but is unsure of where to start. Before they pepper the market with scads of job ads, their workforce planning team uses data to discover that the competition for cyber talent is extraordinarily tight and that they would need to increase their wages in order to attract the talent they need. What should they do? They use data to discover one more key fact: they already have people within their own company who possess some of the skills required to work in cybersecurity. The best way to acquire the talent they need is to retrain some of their existing staff instead of trying to snipe talent from other companies.
Helping students and jobseekers – A new college student enrolls in a nursing program because they believe it’s their only path to a stable job. But after reviewing some career data provided by the university and talking to faculty, the student discovers that a degree focused on marketing and sales is a better fit for their personality and gifts while still leading to good jobs at major employers in their own hometown. Without data to expand their horizons and give them confidence, the student wouldn’t have been aware of these opportunities to make the most of their educational investment.
Measuring impact – A community college sees an opportunity to build a new advanced manufacturing facility to train students with the cutting-edge tools and technology they need to land good jobs at regional vehicle production plants. State funding is limited and they need community support, both from private donors and taxpayers, in order to make it happen. But they don’t have any hard data to prove their institution’s economic importance, or that this new facility will be a net positive for the community. So the college commissions a third-party economic impact study and capital analysis to get an objective assessment of their current impact, as well as the additional impact they can have if the new facility is built. The hard numbers help community members discover (and appreciate) the institution’s importance to the local economy so they can better evaluate the net impact of the college’s plans for expansion.
Once our clients discover the facts, they strategize. They identify an opportunity and consider how to direct their limited time, resources, and people to what matters most, then plan how best to address that need.
Recruiting – A business conducts a national scan for the best place to recruit new sales reps. They discover a high concentration of sales talent in three smaller cities in the Midwest—a much less competitive hiring landscape than cities on the West Coast. So they build a recruiting strategy that targets these Midwest cities, and as a result attract more attention from solid candidates.
Educational alignment – After completing an environmental scan and survey of the local economy, a university confirms the pervasive need for more data science and analytics skills within its state. The college already has a strong computer science department, so they start by placing a stronger emphasis on skills like Python, SQL, and advanced analytics in order to align with employer needs.
Workforce development – A local workforce development board performs a gap analysis and discovers that local delivery is one of the more promising areas of opportunity for a host of local restaurant and hospitality workers who will not likely regain their former jobs. So the workforce board develops a plan to work with a local training provider and a set of companies to quickly transition dislocated workers into these new delivery roles.
Leadership, one of the top skills for 2021, is invaluable in both individuals and organizations. Notice that as our clients know and strategize, they become leaders in whatever problem they solve. They do their homework, figure out the steps to solve the problem, and then get to work doing it. They don’t wait on others to act. They act as catalysts for their communities.
This is how our clients lead with data. And when they lead, they attract followers.
Higher education – Colleges and universities gain a reputation for being relevant, developing programs that quickly address actual needs in the real world.
Communities – Workforce professionals and economic developers gain a seat at the table for all types of problems. Companies, colleges, and other community-based organizations naturally tap these groups first whenever they see a need.
Employers – Companies use their HR teams to find data-driven solutions for all manner of internal problems.
4. Build relationships
The net result of working with data? Strong relationships.
Our clients use data to build relationships inside and outside of their organization. As they discover, strategize, and lead, they find themselves in the unique position of being trusted and sought after. They are recognized as effective and helpful, and they are known for adding value to others. This wins them influence.
In other words, the point of data isn’t data. The point is to get things done, build relationships, and bless others.
Building relationships between colleges and employers – A college president sets up a meeting with the CEO of a large local employer. The CEO is skeptical about this meeting, thinking the president will just ask for a handout. The president is aware of this skepticism, so to prepare for this meeting, they collect data on two key points: 1) the number of graduates who now work at this company, and 2) how the skills taught in their institution’s programs align with the employer’s own job postings. During the meeting, the president shows the CEO this data. The entire tone of the meeting changes. The CEO comes away with a new friend and, more importantly, a desire to work with this college because they realize the college is a significant contributor to the organization’s current (and future) workforce.
Creating an emerging workforce – A local economic development organization meets with an agricultural industry association that is struggling to find a new generation of young people to work in the regions’ many agricultural practices. The association explains that many of the jobs use robotics and cutting-edge equipment, and will pay well if people get the right skills. The problem is a lack of good programs to prepare such workers. So the economic developer uses data and testimony from the local association to work with the college to build a new program. As a result, the college, industry association, and economic developer form a strong bond to develop the industry and create an emerging workforce for these jobs. The result is a much stronger, more prosperous rural community.
Developing new programs that fill talent gaps – A large company uses data to discover that many workers laid off within travel and hospitality could fairly easily transfer to sales and customer service. Thanks to their background, these workers already have many of the sales and CS skills necessary for the job. So the business works together with a local college to craft courses that will help these workers move seamlessly into high-paying, in-demand new jobs.
Discover. Strategize. Lead. Build relationships. The whole point of using data is to connect people, education, and work—all in the context of specific communities. This makes our economy and our regions stronger. It’s a win for you because you are in a position of value to other people, and it’s clearly a big win for the people you help, because they can’t get where they need to be without you.
So, be confident that you can do it, and know that as you do it, lots of other people will benefit from your work.
Read more about how our clients put Emsi data into action: