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We invest in California's economic growth and global competitiveness through industry-specific education, training and services that contribute to a highly skilled and productive workforce.
The Innovations of Skills Panels
Innovative solutions and training programs based on real-time requirements
In a September 2011 study from the Public Policy Institute of California, a record-high number of residents (67%) said that the most important issue facing California is jobs and the economy. As we continue to dig out of the recession, more than 2 million Californians are still unemployed, while some employers struggle to find workers skilled enough to fill new jobs and remain competitive globally.
In May 2011, America's Edge released a report called "Can California Compete?" which highlighted increasing skills gaps in numerous occupations, especially in middle-skilled jobs - those requiring more than a high school diploma and less than a four-year degree. Our Fall 2011 e-Newsletter examined some of the ways that the Economic and Workforce Development Initiatives were helping California employers address these gaps. The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office recently announced a new strategic initiative: Doing What's Right for Jobs and the Economy. Under this commitment, one of the ways the community college system is reinforcing its ability to align the needs of employers with education and training options is by establishing Skills Panels for each of its Economic and Workforce Development Initiatives.
Skills panels create a business-driven forum to solve workforce problems in a particular industry by encouraging companies, who might otherwise be in competition, to collaborate on identifying the critical skills needed by their employees. By bringing together education, public workforce training resources, and business and industry experts, skills gaps can be identified and quantified, and plans can be made to connect workers or jobseekers with the necessary training and educational resources to close the gaps and ensure the competitive advantage of an economically vital industry.
Skills panels bring a more entrepreneurial perspective than traditional advisory boards because they focus on creating innovative solutions and training programs based on real-time requirements. While advisory panels and their subject matter experts will still have their place in curriculum development, the nimble nature of skills panels, and the unique knowledge of the industry cluster that their members bring to the group, will enable businesses to share actionable feedback on specific industry needs directly with training providers.
In this issue of Grow California, we'll share how each of the California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Initiatives are implementing skills panels within their industry focus, and are working with local employers to identify critical skills and incorporate them into new or existing programs.
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EWD Industry Study
Mobile Media Implications for Workforce Demands
The Centers of Excellence recently released a study of mobile media focused on the mobile media labor market and its workforce needs. As a technology rather than an industry, workers in multiple industries will need to learn new mobile media skills and perform new job functions. A survey of over 400 firms revealed that the occupations most impacted will be: software engineers, computer support specialists, project managers, web developers, and graphic artists/designers. Survey respondents also indicated that they would be adding 1,300 new mobile media jobs over the next 12 months.
A second report, Social Media in California, reveals that there will be 30,000 job openings projects in five social media occupations over the next five years. These occupations are in: public relations; marketing and media communications; business: development, sales, and advertising; and social media management.
These findings suggest that an update of skills represents a significant opportunity for community colleges. The full reports for both social media and mobile media can be accessed at: http://www.coeccc.net/products_industry_scans.asp.
COE is a primary source of information on emerging industries and in-demand occupations, customized for community colleges to take action. For more information, please contact Elaine Gaertner, Statewide Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CITD Wins NASBITE International 2012 Award
The California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) were honored on April 20, 2012, at the 25th Annual International Conference of the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE), receiving the State Award for Advancing International Trade.
The NASBITE Advancing International Trade Award recognizes the dedication and service of those that are contributing to the advancement of international trade in each state in the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico. Individual or program award recipients must have contributed to the advancement of international trade for four or more years, and have to be nominated by the NASBITE Board of Governors.
"NASBITE has taken the leadership role and contributed tremendous energy and passion to help colleges, universities and the business community recognize the critical need for small business international education, and the need for an industry certification," said CITD Statewide Director, Jeffrey Williamson. "Our team is proud to provide tangible resources for the business and education communities, and we have benefitted greatly from participating in and serving NASBITE over the past twenty years which makes this award even more meaningful to all of us."
For information on the CITD Initiative, visit www.citd.org or contact CITD Statewide Director Jeff Williamson, at (909) 556 6639 or email@example.com.
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Preparing for Growth:
Skills Panels Identify Needs in Green Transportation Technology & Renewable Energy
California's High-Speed Rail Authority is poised to begin work on the nation's largest infrastructure project-a $6 billion investment in local rail improvement and expansion that will connect the state's large north and south "mega-regions" through the rapidly growing Central Valley using high-speed electric bullet trains. According to the Authority's recently revised business plan, the project is estimated to add 100,000 "job years" of employment to the Central Valley in the next five years; a job year is the equivalent of employing one person in a full time job for one year. Additionally, the Authority has committed to the installation of renewable energy systems on state property used for the rail system right-of-way via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the California Energy Commission.
As transportation overall shifts towards the use of electric and hybridized technology, logistics and trucking firms, as well as large scale construction and energy firms that work on the rail project, are identifying needs for workers with technical skills in everything from maintenance and upkeep of green (natural gas and electric) vehicles to installation of renewable energy technologies in existing and upcoming construction projects. To meet the diverse needs of employers in this arena, the Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Centers (ATTE) throughout California will convene skills panels comprised of industry and union representatives, local and regional economic development organizations, education providers, and local workforce investment boards.
"The new skills panels will allow us to develop and deliver innovative, industry-focused workforce training programs that teach specific skills needed by employers in these emerging technologies," said ATTE Statewide Director, Peter Davis. "The groundwork has been laid in our existing Community College technical training programs, but having ground-level industry partners on the skills panels will allow us to tailor these programs to the real-time market needs. It is also a critical opportunity to expand past traditional geographic boundaries to ensure consistent technical training throughout California."
For more information on establishing business and industry partnerships with ATTE to help fuel expansion at your company, visit www.attecolleges.org or contact ATTE Statewide Director, Peter Davis at (619) 473-0090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Biotechnology Success Story
BioScience Workforce Summit Puts Skills Panels Into Action
The Biotechnology Initiative currently employs industry-driven skills panels to help design training programs that respond to regional needs. These skills panels are an evolution of the advisory committee model, and are a more proactive approach that now includes industry, economic development professionals, local workforce investment boards, educators, recruiters and HR professionals, and public policy officials. By convening this diverse group of stakeholders, the Biotechnology Initiative creates a comprehensive view of bioscience workforce issues in the region, includes a variety of perspectives, and promotes communication, partnerships, and creative problem solving among these diverse entities, all of whom are invested in bioscience industry competiveness and local prosperity.
A specific example of the skills panel approach is the Bioscience Workforce Summit held in Los Angeles last spring. This Summit was co-sponsored by the L.A./Orange County Biotechnology Center; the Biotechnology Initiative Center for the greater Los Angeles area; SoCalBio, the biotechnology industry trade association for the region; Griffols Biologicals, a major biomanufacturing company; and the bioscience HR recruiting firm, MannKind Corporation. The Summit was opened with the acknowledgement from industry leaders that "one of the most significant keys to corporate success is the quality of our workforce." It convened government officials and policy makers, industry leaders, Southern California Workforce Investment Board representatives, along with educators from colleges in the region. Discussions included national bioscience workforce projects and federal funding opportunities; best practices in curriculum and program development; workforce development, retention and recruitment; needed skills and traits in employees; and ensuring good paying jobs and a qualified workforce are available now and in the future.
The Summit was a huge success with over 150 attendees, including corporate CEOs. Outcomes included three community colleges starting new bioscience programs; growth of new programs in the Inland Empire region; a number of colleges collaborating on federal grant applications; donation of equipment and supplies to college programs; and meaningful networking opportunities among educators and bioscience company decision makers. A 2012 Southern California Bioscience Workforce Summit is scheduled for this July.
Earlier skills panels convened by the Biotechnology Initiative resulted in new and successful training programs specifically targeting the biomanufacturing sector. Programs were developed at L.A. Valley College and L.A. Trade Tech College, and addressed the needs of major biomanufacturing firms in the region, including Griffols Biologicals and Baxter. "Our initiative has already seen the value that skills panels can play in identifying the specific skills needed by the employers in a region," said Biotechnology Initiative Statewide Director, Jeffrey O'Neal. "Employers have accessed hundreds of workers directly out of our training programs. These former students found good paying jobs in biomanufacturing that used their newly acquired skills right away and put money back into local economies."
For more information on the Biotechnology Initiative and its use of skills panels to ensure a prepared workforce, visit www.cccbiotech.org, or contact Biotechnology Initiative Statewide Director, Jeffrey O'Neal at (916) 484-8052 or email@example.com.
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Small Businesses Drive Economic Expansion
Skills Panels Planned to Help Business Owners Succeed
According to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, small businesses accounted for 65 percent (9.8 million) of the new jobs that were created between 1993 and 2009. The potential for innovation among small business is tremendous, as they account for 16.5 times more patents per employee than large firms. In their hiring transactions, small business owners and entrepreneurs search for employees with everything from retail and customer service skills to highly specialized technical knowledge. However, the challenge for many business owners is experiencing a level of growth that will allow them to generate job creation within the economy.
The Business and Entrepreneurship Centers (BEC) exist to better enable small business owners to contribute to their local economies by meeting their needs in the areas of business assistance, training, access to business capital, and regulatory simplicity. By including experienced small business owners who understand and can address the challenges of their roles, along with business development experts and educational leaders across numerous industry sectors, the BEC is in the process of developing Regional Skills Panels to assist in this quest.
"These locally driven skills panels can quickly address immediate needs of the regional small business community and work together to identify the resources available to meet their needs," said BEC Statewide Director, Michael Roessler. "When they are ready to hire employees, our educational and workforce partners will help them tap into the local labor pool and identify the critical workforce talent they need to take their business to the next level."
Small businesses who are interested in serving on a regional skills panel, or who would like to learn more about receiving assistance from the Business & Entrepreneurship Center Program, should visit www.buildcalifornia.org or contact BEC Statewide Director, Michael Roessler at (916) 361-2964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Skills Panels and Environmental Training
Meeting Needs for Critical and Emerging Occupations
Events such as hurricanes, natural disasters, and terrorism threats have increased awareness of the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy water supply, and properly disposing of contaminated water through treatment and filtration. While some may think of water and wastewater management as being a primary responsibility of government, there are many private sector businesses involved in the treatment, testing, and management of a clean water supply. For example, manufacturing companies using plastics or other chemicals must safely remove residual polymers from wastewater prior to dumping. Food and beverage manufacturers have a critical requirement to filter and test water prior to its use in preparing their products.
The Environmental Training Centers (ETCs) have consistently worked with industry representatives to understand the training requirements for companies involved in any type of water management. With the implementation of skills panels, the ETC will develop additional relationships with union representatives, workforce investment boards, and regional or statewide economic development organizations to further understand specific and emerging skills requirements of both public and private sector employers. "The focus on developing skills panels is very timely," said ETC Statewide Director, Richard Della Valle. "We had already identified a need for revised and updated curriculum in water management, and the skills panels will allow us to create educational programs that will lead to credentials or micro-credentials the industry needs."
Della Valle also shared another area for skills panel development with geospatial (GIS and GPS) technology. According to Open Geolocation Consortium (OGC) President/CEO Mark Reichardt, "New location technologies are fundamentally changing the way business and government organize and make decisions." The explosion in the availability of location data is creating a place-based world, and employers will need workers with skills in using this information for decision-making and analysis. The US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation reports that GEOINT (geo-intelligence) jobs are outpacing the supply of education personnel. Through the use of skills panels that convene industry leaders and experts, along with workforce investment boards, educational partners, and economic development, the ETC plans to develop certifications and curriculum to help meet this growing need.
For more information on programs offered by the ETC, visit http://envtraining.org/ or contact ETC Statewide Director, Richard Della Valle at (925) 858-6602 or email@example.com.
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Doing What's Right for Healthcare
Existing Skills Advisory Committee Responds to Employer Needs
According to Monster's 2012 Healthcare Outlook, the healthcare industry will continue to be a reliable source of job creation throughout 2012 and beyond. An aging population, combined with an aging workforce, new technology requirements, and regulatory matters will drive employers' needs for a skilled labor force. The Health Workforce Initiative (HWI) has created and continues to implement a successful structure for a statewide advisory committee that is in alignment with the strategic initiative around skills panels. HWI conducts three meetings annually of a statewide skills advisory committee. Through its bylaws, the committee allows for a minimum of 12, and a maximum of 25, voting members. These voting members consist of statewide business and industry representatives from major medical centers, governmental appointees, health care related associations, secondary/ROP programs, community college allied health faculty and program directors, and others as appointed by the committee. Each HWI regional center also convenes an advisory committee to guide the programming of the center.
As industry makes requests, HWI programming is aligned to respond to the identified need. The following are some examples of industry requests from previous advisory meetings:
- Request for more training on cultural and linguistic competency. HWI has completed nine of 17 modules for integration into any community college allied health program on this topic. These modules are now available at http://ca-hwi.org/.
- Request for more primary care practitioners. HWI is in the process of developing an Ambulatory Care RN curriculum that can be used as a post licensure training program for RN's interested in primary care.
- Request for more BSN-prepared nurses. This has been included in the HWI workplan since February 2011 when representatives attended the Community College Baccalaureate Association Conference in San Diego. At that time Assembly Member Marty Block introduced AB 661 to allow community colleges to offer Baccalaureate Degrees. HWI has testified at hearings, participated in curriculum development, and continues to monitor this process.
HWI utilizes the DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) Job Analysis process to respond to identified industry needs for emerging occupations. Similar to the Skills Panel concept, a DACUM panel consists of expert workers to define their occupation in terms of successful task performance. An industry advisory panel is also convened to validate the skills and competencies required for this job/occupation. The HWI website contains a listing of the DACUM Job Analyses completed by the Initiative at http://ca-hwi.org/.
For further information on the ways Health Workforce Initiative is aligning skills with employer requirements, visit www.ca-hwi.org or contact HWI Statewide Director, Linda Zorn at (530) 879-9069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skills Panels in Manufacturing
Bringing Key Players Together for Workforce and the Economy
In advanced manufacturing, perhaps more than any other industry, employers are facing unprecedented difficulty in accessing skilled workers. A recent World Economic Forum report, The Future of Manufacturing, states, "An estimated 10 million jobs with manufacturing organizations worldwide cannot be filled today, due to a growing skills gap. Despite the high unemployment rate in many developed economies, companies are struggling to fill manufacturing jobs with the right talent."
The College of Sequoias Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT@COS) is a strong believer in the benefits of collaborating with workforce partners to help engage employers in discussions around needed skills. By partnering with the Advanced Manufacturing Committee of the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County (TCWIB), the CACT@COS has been able to work with a consortium of manufacturers in Tulare County to provide customized training in specific areas as identified and prioritized by multiple employers.
The TCWIB's Advanced Manufacturing Committee is comprised of HR professionals, plant managers and small business owners who meet quarterly to discuss needs of the manufacturing community in Tulare County. "This committee allows employers to take a central role in discussing specific workforce needs with other manufacturers, workforce professionals, community leaders, and educators across the county," said TCWIB Executive Director, Adam Peck.
College of Sequoias began to take an active role in the Manufacturing Consortium when it received an official designation as a CACT (Center for Applied Competitive Technologies). "When I started working at COS, the first thing I was told to do was to establish an advisory board for my program," said CACT@COS Director, Louann Waldner. "But, I knew I needed a deeper connection with business and industry than just an advisory." Waldner turned to the Tulare Workforce Investment Board who was developing "sector committees" for the high wage industries in Tulare County.
"Helping manufacturers isn't about having them come and listen to us 'report out' at a meeting," said Waldner. "The benefit of coming together is listening and figuring out ways to collaborate." Listening and collaborating is exactly what the employers, the TCWIB and CACT@COS did. Employers identified several skills gaps of their incumbent workers including troubleshooting using programmable logic controllers (PLC), as well as gaps in front-line leadership/supervisory training and lab/quality assurance skills at a foodservice manufacturer.
The TCWIB identified funding as one of the limiting factors in employers taking part of any type of training and worked to obtain a multi-employer Employment Training Panel (ETP) contract from the State of California. For PLC training, the CACT focused on visiting with maintenance supervisors, HR managers, and plant managers to assess the needs of the workers and ultimately designed an assessment tool that helped gauge the skill level of the incumbent workers, so that they could be "placed" in the training that provided the worker and employer the greatest return-on-investment. The employers approved the curriculum, identified the employees and continue to give feedback on all parts of the process.
For the pilot effort, eight manufacturing employers participated in the effort, training over 60 people in three short-term PLC trainings and a customized front-line supervisory training. The lab skills training is being developed with input from three different food manufacturing plants and the training will be piloted during summer 2012.
"The impact a program like this can have, if we are able to continue to do it, equates to real dollars to business," said Provisions Food Company HR Manager, Kevin Rowland. "Developing these skills in our workers not only reduces the need for outside, very high-priced contractors, but delivers needed training that reduces downtime and costs to correct problems," he concluded.
For more information on how the CACT initiative is engaging manufacturers across the state to identify workforce needs through skills panels, visit www.MakingItInCalifornia.com, or contact statewide CACT Director Jose Anaya at (310) 973-3165 or email@example.com . Louann Waldner, CACT Director at College of the Sequoias, may be reached at (559) 737-4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doing What's Good in New Media
Discovering Skills Requirements Regionally
The Interactive Internet and Media Applications for Business (iima4biz) Initiative has three Regional Centers that have developed employer, educational, and workforce partnerships with the local community to identify necessary skills in the new media industry, and develop training or workshops for employees that will help them develop the required skills.
The iima4biz center at L.A. Valley College, named IDEAS, has focused on the regional entertainment industry by developing a close relationship with, and workshops for, the 'below the line' craft unions and guilds associated with production. Unions represented include Local 33 Hollywood Stagehands, AFTRA, Local 800 Art Directors Guild, and Local 892 Costume Designers Guild. Craftspeople on the panel include animators, agents, development executives, on-camera talent, and post production talent.
Advancing skill levels between productions is the only way that Los Angeles can stay competitive, as other states and countries attempt to attract the industry that has employed thousands in and around L.A. for 80 years. IDEAS is strongly supported by the LAVC Media Arts Department.
The one-year-old iima4biz Center at Hartnell College in Salinas, named the New Media Center, has tackled the needs of this 75 percent Hispanic agricultural community, by developing small business workshops and conferences on the effective use of web technologies in both English and Spanish, which is spoken by 40 percent of the adult participants. The workshops address digital literacy issues and help bring older workers up to speed. The aggressive use of student internships has furthered the Center's ability to bridge the skill gap between youth who are comfortable with technology and older workers who have never had the opportunity to fully learn it.
The iima4biz Center at North Orange County Community College District has developed workshops in response to the skills sought by local employers in web design and digital arts. Responsive programs with the Anaheim Police Department and other local businesses have helped focus the curriculum development. Optimizing resources with other EWD Initiatives, the Orange County Digital Media Center has operated one of the most successful contract education programs in the California Community College system.
Statewide, iima4biz learns from each center and identifies skill gaps from prominent research institutions like PEW Internet Research; non-profits like Tu-Technologia, who work exclusively with the Spanish language businesses; and MPICT (Mid-Pacific Information Communication Technology) focusing on the larger ICT industry. Developing effective programs that can be utilized by these centers and any other community colleges throughout California is the goal of the statewide program.
For more information on how the iima4biz initiative is addressing the new media skills needs of employers throughout the state, visit www.iima4biz.org, or contact Statewide Director, Stephen Wright at (805) 496-8583 or email@example.com.
Skills Panels for Workplace Learning
Collaboration is the Key to Meeting Business Needs
A poll taken by the Kaufmann Foundation at the Inc. 500 Conference found that 40 percent of employers say that the biggest barrier to growth for their companies is the lack of workers with appropriate skills to fill available jobs. The Workplace Learning Resource Centers (WpLRC) recognize this challenge and have implemented a number of strategies to ensure workers are prepared to enter the workforce and remain competitive in the future. Many of these strategies focus on collaboration and partnerships that bring educators, businesses, workforce and economic development groups together. By working together the needs of business and regional economies are heard and then integrated into community college training programs.
The new strategic direction towards skills panels is a natural fit for the WpLRC. "Collaboration and partnership is the key to creating a highly skilled workforce and will continue to be essential to the community college education model in the future," said WpLRC Statewide Director, Bruce Whistler. "Creating flexible programs that allow employees to use their newly acquired skills immediately provides the greatest benefit. This is especially true when the programs are flexible enough to allow employees to acquire additional skills while working at the same time,"
One example of how the WpLRC is already moving toward this future model is through its Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) Center and its long-term partnership with the United States Navy. The VCCCD Center maintains a strong partnership with the United States Navy, and works closely with them to create training programs for military and civilian personnel in Ventura County including a 62-Unit Business Management Certificate and AA Degree. The certificate is a direct result of collaborative efforts and serves as a pre-cursor to the growing trend for customized employee degree programs. Courses are currently offered on site and structured to meet the needs of working professionals.
"We are so pleased with our ongoing relationship with the United States Navy and the success of the Business Management Certificate Program," said VCCCD Center Director, Terry Schukart. "This program is an excellent example of how collaboration with our business partners provides benefits to not only the employer but to the workers and the community overall." Since the programs launch in 2004, 194 Civilian Contractors who work for Navy Base Ventura County have enrolled in the program, with 18 fully completed and another set of students scheduled to complete later this year. The VCCCD Center will continue its long-term partnership with the United States Navy and leverage the benefits of collaboration to create a highly skilled workforce.
To learn more about developing collaborative training modules for your organization, please contact Terry Schukart at firstname.lastname@example.org for Ventura County, or WpLRC Statewide Director Bruce Whistler at email@example.com.