Best Practices
March 4, 2009

Sacramento LEEDs Regional Effort to Forecast Skill Demands and Job Market

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Despite the recent economic downturn, many communities are still looking at a changing job market in the next 5 to 10 years, with middle- and high-skill jobs constituting a majority of the incoming workforce needs. Understanding these needs is essential for communities looking to align their education and training systems to the realities of their region's workforce and economic objectives.

With a three-pronged focus on strengthening workforce development, aligning curriculum to meet regional workforce needs, and promoting career awareness among students, Sacramento's Linking Education and Economic Development (LEED) took a leadership role in releasing the Regional Workforce Forecast, an expansive look at the job market in the six-county Sacramento region by 2015. LEED, a coalition of regional business, education, community, and civic leaders working together to develop and support strategic partnerships, was founded by volunteer leaders of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Recently, LEED raised over $100,000 in local funds to support the Regional Workforce Forecast, a regional economic strategy developed with input from over 30 civic groups, released by the Partnership for Prosperity. In addition to a printed report, there is also an online relational database designed to assist economic developers, job seekers, employers, and training providers to easily view job projections by industry. Housed on an interactive web site, CareerGPS.com, the Forecast identifies occupational demand for more than 75 industries and includes necessary educational and training information for each job as well as the skills and aptitudes necessary for success. It is the first study of its kind developed in the region.

"Education and training are recognized as critical components to economic development, yet we all struggle with systemic approaches to ensure proper alignment. To accomplish LEED's objective, aligning education to meet regional workforce needs, it was essential to have a generally accepted perspective of what those workforce needs actually are," noted David Butler, CEO of LEED. "CareerGPS.com provides educators and training providers with information they need to develop relevant curriculum that prepares students for success in school and at work. Students and job seekers can also find out which careers are in demand in our community and where they can go to become prepared for those careers."