By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President, Camoin Associates
What keeps you up at night? When I ask that to business leaders in the context of economic and business growth, the answer is often “finding and retaining skilled and talented workers.” Within my work as an economic development consultant I have interviewed thousands of business leaders across multiple settings: rural to urban, small to large, tourism to high tech, and workforce issues consistently rank at the top of the list. Is this surprising? While it is true that there is an ample number of people searching for a better job, or even a job in general, a serious talent and skills gap exists, making it challenging for employers to find the right individual for a specific position. If this skills gap is not rectified by economic development, workforce, and educational partners, it will stifle economic growth and prosperity at all levels.
What is causing this skills gap and related inability for businesses to find workers with the appropriate skills and training? While there is not one easy answer, several factors, which are highlighted below, are commonly identified based on research, analysis, and on-the-ground reporting.