May 1, 2017, Inside Business
More than 150 business leaders, educators and economic development decision makers attended a gathering in mid-April to hear the 2017 State of the Workforce and Gap Analysis.
A consortium of workforce development organizations including Opportunity Inc., Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and ReInvent Hampton Roads shared the findings which were presented by the Hampton Roads Workforce Partners.
The regional report revealed a detailed assessment of economic and employment trends in the area in the eight key industries: advanced manufacturing, ship repair and ship building, food and beverage manufacturing, port operations, life sciences, business and consulting services, information analytics and security and tourism.
The report showed that the examined industry clusters make up close to 16 percent of the gross regional product in Hampton Roads.
“This collaborative effort marks a new day for Hampton Roads, in terms of our ability to partner on workforce development initiatives across the region,” Shawn Avery, president and CEO of Opportunity Inc. said in a news release. “We commissioned this study to give us a baseline of historical data, which we can now reference as we work to close the skills gap to ensure we have the talent to support high-demand jobs in our area.”
Matthew James, president and CEO of the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, said this is the first time, since he’s been in Hampton Roads, that they now have the data needed to identify strengths and weaknesses from a regional perspective.
“We must continue thinking beyond sub regions and work together to best support employers and jobseekers,” James said.
Rick Weddle, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance said the study enables them to get serious about business attraction and growth rather than training quality workers for other regions.
The State of the Workforce report gave a clear description into the region’s assets relating to the workforce and highlighted data to improve worker skill development, job creation and overall economic opportunities.
“We are very appreciative of the Workforce Development Boards for the State of the Workforce and Gap Analysis. It illuminates the work that needs to be done in this important element of economic development and regional prosperity,” Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber said. “As succinctly stated by Jim Spore, president and CEO of ReInvent Hampton Roads during the briefing, there are only three ways to create new jobs; entrepreneurship, growth from existing businesses and recruiting new businesses into the region. The Hampton Roads Chamber is proud to play a major role in setting the conditions for all three means of job creation to occur.”