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2010 Tompkins County Workforce Strategy Released

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2010 Tompkins County Workforce Strategy Released

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tompkins County Area Development and the Tompkins County Workforce Investment Board today unveiled the 2010 Tompkins County Workforce Strategy, a plan the partners describe as "a road map for local workforce development in these critical times." The Strategy, developed over the past year and building upon a previous year-long assessment of the local labor market, strives to help individuals and employers achieve greater success, with that success driving the success of the local economy.

The Tompkins County Workforce Strategy, developed as part of the ongoing collaboration between the county's economic development and workforce development agencies, and involving stakeholders from throughout the community, provides direction for a coordinated and effective response to urgent talent issues stemming from rapid economic globalization, integration of technology into all occupations, and dramatic demographic change. The partners note the Strategy is the first step in a cycle of renewal to keep local workforce development activities and investments aligned with the changing environment for workforce development, described as critical in the increasingly competitive global race for talent.

Tompkins Workforce Investment Board (WIB) executive director Julia Mattick calls the Strategy "really critical to the Workforce Investment Board and its partners," as it helps to engage all in meeting a common set of goals.

The Strategy strives to create value for job-seekers, employers, and the community by

- Building individuals' capacity to pursue rewarding work
- Developing the pipeline of willing and able talent to meet employers' goals
- Supporting a thriving community by helping workers and employers reach their fullest potential

Key Goals:

1. Increase the number of work-ready, basic-skilled workers
2. Retain and attract more young adults
3. Prepare for the wave of baby-boomer retirements
4. Facilitate and enable the recruitment of workers for specialized occupations
5. Reduce underemployment and its accompanying under-use of talent
6. Increase the workforce system's capacity to manage near-term challenges and opportunities.

With a number of existing programs already contributing to the six goals, director Mattick notes that her board will be particularly focused on new approaches to achieve two of those goals during the coming year--'preparing for baby boomer retirements and improving the capacity of the overall workforce system. After much talk over the years about impending baby boomer retirements, she stressed "the time is actually now," as those retirements begin.

With the Tompkins Workforce New York Career Center continuing to deal with increased unemployment and job-seekers resulting from the economic downturn, Mattick reports worker shortages in demand occupations, such as skilled manufacturing trades, are already occurring. And occupations that were not impacted by the downturn, particularly in health care, have faced shortages of trained workforce throughout the recession.

Cayuga Medical Center Vice President for Human Resources Alan Pederson, chair of the Workforce Strategy Steering Committee, calls development of the Workforce Strategy "a great example of a private/public partnership," through which the entire community will benefit.

In 2006, TCAD's Tompkins County Economic Development Strategy identified "improving workforce skills" as one of three key economic development goals for 2007 to 2011. TCAD Vice President Martha Armstrong said it became clear that a renewed strategic planning effort was required--'one that would reach beyond the staff efforts of workforce agencies to engage all workforce development stakeholders. TCAD and the WIB then partnered to create a strategic plan for workforce development in Tompkins County. The partnership seeks to create a vibrant economy that provides satisfying and supporting employment opportunities to workers and top-quality human capital for employers.

The complete 2010 Tompkins County Workforce Strategy may be viewed online at
http://www.tcad.org/files2/uploads/20100126_WorkforceStrategyWEB0110%20INT.pdf.