Meet the network

The Talent Pipeline Management initiative announced a national learning network to identify pathways to ensure a more competitive 21st century workforce. Each regional partner will pilot one or more of the six talent pipeline practices in an effort to determine which programs are most effective.

The regional partners include the Arizona Chamber Foundation, Vermilion Advantages in Illinois, the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors in Kansas, Impact Northern Kentucky, Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium, the Greater Houston Partnership, and Elevate Virginia. 

The research and input collected from the regional participants will help complete the development of a talent pipeline management toolkit that will be released nationwide in fall 2015 and available to employers to adopt.

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Challenge

Too often, workforce development programs across Arizona operate independently of each other and with little collaboration among employers and providers. There has yet to be a coordinated employer-driven effort to articulate how state workforce and education programs can be more aligned with employer needs to improve efficiency, support economic development, and provide workers with relevant training for the 21st century economy.

The Plan

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is using TPM principles to build and launch sector-based employer collaboratives. These groups bring employers together to identify common workforce needs and work together to create and encourage solutions that make sense for the business community. In addition to building employer collaboratives, Arizona is also working to improve teacher quality within the state by working with the project “A for Arizona’’ and using the TPM principle of talent flow analysis to identify where the state’s best teachers are currently being trained. By back-mapping teacher talent to find the source, Arizona is able to utilize the data to improve the quality of teachers across the state.

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Elevate Virginia

The Challenge

Virginia recognizes that taking a proactive approach to developing a scalable and replicable workforce delivery model will pay dividends in the future. While Virginia understands the innovative solutions that a demand-driven model will bring to the Commonwealth, they must first build a foundation in partnership with the business community. By demonstrating success in a pilot program which shows both short- and long-term value for the state and employers, Virginia can empower current and future administrations to build a sustainable pipeline of qualified talent for the Commonwealth.

The Plan

Virginia is developing a new talent pipeline approach that allows employers to better utilize state government, the workforce system, and the public education system to meet its talent needs. Virginia is focusing on meeting employers’ needs for a skilled Information Technology (IT) workforce beginning with Northern Virginia. The team is focusing on organizing key IT companies into an employer collaborative and using their insights to perform a demand planning exercise. This way, the IT sector will have a much clearer understanding of its short- and long-term hiring needs. To accompany the demand planning work, Virginia is also focusing on setting up a talent flow analysis as well as determining common competencies and credentials for Virginia’s IT sector.

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Governor's Council of Economic Advisors in Kansas

The Challenge

Kansas understands that succeeding in the workforce relies heavily on receiving quality training; but, deciding on what skills and competencies should be prioritized in the classroom without the input of the business community can prove to be difficult. In response, Kansas has developed Workforce AID (Aligned with Industry Demand), a state-run program that links educational supply with employer demand. In this program, employers drive the training process, outlining the technical and employability skills they need from their workers. Based on those identified skills, Kansas’ community and technical colleges compete in a bidding process to be chosen to deliver training programs to students. This program proves to be dually beneficial: students receive critical skills for the working world, industry credentials, and college credit while employers, in turn, agree either to hire and/or interview graduates from these training programs.

The Plan

As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Learning Network, Kansas is scaling up its Workforce AID program, with a focus on the Information Technology (IT) sector in the Kansas City region. Kansas is encouraging the small business community to join together to create employer collaboratives as a way to leverage the full benefits of what Workforce AID can bring as a demand-driven solution. From there, employer involvement through collaboratives also helps the IT business community improve demand planning, find common competency and credential requirements needed across the IT sector, and develop employer-centric performance measures.

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Greater Houston Partnership

The Challenge

Houston’s petrochemical sector has an increased demand for qualified and skilled workers due to capital expansions and a retiring Boomer generation. Additionally, the region’s construction sector, like many industry sectors in America, has a fluctuating demand for skilled craft professionals depending on market and demographic forces. The problem is that this high variability makes it difficult for the industry as a whole to train and hire enough competent workers. What’s more, the petrochemicals sector frequently works in tandem with the construction sector, meaning delays and shortages of talent in one industry will affect them both. Finally, all of the different training programs in these sectors can make it confusing for employers to understand what their graduates actually know. What the greater Houston area needs is insight into the analytics of demand and training in both industries so they can maximize efficiencies when finding talent.

The Plan

GHP is focusing on analyzing demand in the region for the construction industry to better understand the ebbs and flows and help businesses plan for their needs. In the petrochemical industry, GHP is mapping where employers are sourcing talent using the “talent flow analysis” TPM concept and then working to build a common language of competencies and credentials to create and share best practices for the top three jobs in the industry. By doing this, GHP is not only be able to know which training programs are most successful in producing high-quality employees, but be able to tell those organizations what skills and competencies the region’s top petrochemical jobs will require.

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Impact Northern Kentucky

The Challenge

Northern Kentucky has a robust manufacturing industry, but more than 80% of employers in the area are not confident that they can quickly find workers to meet their skill and growth needs. Beyond the skills gap, Impact Northern Kentucky found that community members were not familiar with many of the regional manufacturing jobs, and lacked understanding of the opportunities within manufacturing careers.

The Plan

To tackle these issues, Impact Northern Kentucky is recruiting four employers to set up an initial employer collaborative focusing on technical occupations in manufacturing. By bringing a group of regional manufacturers together, Impact Northern Kentucky is able to help its manufacturing industry evaluate demand planning needs, find common competencies and credentials needed to succeed, and understand where current manufacturing employees are obtaining skills and experience through talent flow analysis. From this information, the collaboratives are able to better align employer measures to ensure companies are getting the best talent available, and research incentive mechanisms that would help these TPM strategies succeed long-term. In addition, Impact Northern Kentucky is developing a pilot training program approach for one of the critical technical occupations in manufacturing.

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Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium

The Challenge

Like many modern businesses, the rapidly growing energy sector in Michigan requires an evolving list of skills and abilities from its employees. To succeed, Michigan needs an agile career and technical education system to develop responsive curricula and train students to meet energy employers’ needs. Building this system is no easy task, requiring a deep dive into demand planning and competency and credentialing tools in order to equip training providers with critical information and better align Career and Technical Education curricula with current market needs.

The Plan

As part of the USCCF Learning Network, MEWDC is researching the current needs of the energy sector through demand planning and evaluating which competencies and credential requirements are most needed and in common for critical positions within the sector. Based on this research, MEWDC is compiling a list of recommendations and standard credentials in the energy sector. This strategy is also being shared with other Michigan energy companies and at MEWDC’s statewide Industry and Education Partnership Summit. Through this, MEWDC plans to create a scalable system that can be replicated across the sector in other positions and companies.

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Vermilion Advantage in Illinois

The Challenge

Vermilion Advantage has a proven county-wide model to align workforce, economic development, and education efforts in the manufacturing sector. However, the organization has faced key challenges in utilizing state programs, effectively aligning local efforts, forecasting demand for future talent needs, and expanding reach to additional employers to promote accelerated and work-based education and training models. To expand its work, Vermilion must find new ways to reach out to employers and offer new tools to help their manufacturers plan and implement demand-driven solutions to workforce needs.

The Plan

To explain the value of the demand-driven approach to the business community, Vermilion Advantage is developing a series of guides aimed at five critical manufacturing positions that lay out how talent pipeline strategies can be used to help manufacturing employers across the state find, grow, and hire talent in a smarter way. For example, one of the guides Vermilion is creating focuses on the importance of demand planning for talent needs by updating and adapting Vermilion’s current Annual Jobs Projection Survey. By improving upon current work, Vermilion is laying the groundwork for manufacturers in the region to engage in demand planning in new ways.

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