Data-driven, college-industry partnerships are proving to be a successful approach
LOS ANGELES, CA (Nov 5, 2019) – Through a partnership known as the Center for a Competitive Workforce (CCW), which pairs the Los Angeles Basin’s community college system together with the region’s economic development leadership organization (the LAEDC), the LA region has demonstrated that fusing rigorous labor market research and reliable occupational forecasting with systematic and progressive business engagement of college leadership drives more relevant career education programs, including work-based learning opportunities.
By relying on quantitative data and analysis of growth occupations, including their automation risk and 3-5 year regional labor market demand and supply, together with qualitative input received from industry firms about their changing occupational demands to inform the construction, features and scale of college programs and the competencies those programs teach, there have been a number of well-documented changes occurring at the 19 community colleges in the LA Basin. These changes are delivering improved outcomes for students; they are helping businesses from key growth industries find fertile talent pipelines in a tight labor market; and they are increasing the relevance and value of the public community college system.
Best of all, this progress is being delivered via an easily replicable structure that can be expanded statewide as a series of place-based cross-sector partnerships that support the Governor’s signature “Region’s Rise Together” initiative by addressing each California region’s distinct workforce and talent development challenges through the lens of its own industrial concentrations and productive advantages in a fast-changing economy.
Here in the LA Basin, the CCW industry engagement model has been operationalized across seven industries in which the region has marked employment concentrations and productive advantages: aerospace and defense; advanced transportation; biopharmaceuticals and medical devices; digital media and entertainment; health care services; information and communications technology; and professional and business services. Importantly, these industries are aligned with the efforts of the community college Regional Directors of Business Engagement, focused on creating a seamless linkage between employers and colleges so programs adapt in real-time as occupations change.
“Much like the larger world, the skills needed for today’s consulting and accounting positions are rapidly changing. It’s a new world that requires a new set of skills. Business leaders and educators must work together to make sure the next generation of workers is equipped to succeed in our ever-evolving economy,” said Stefanie Kane, Managing Partner, PwC.
“Approaching this work as a system is helping all the colleges benefit, with direct impact on the value students are getting from their education, and employers couldn’t be happier that this is becoming a formalized way to engage in partnerships,” said Virginia Rapp, chair of the CCW Advisory Council and Dean of Business at El Camino College.
In addition, this ongoing connective work between area community colleges and local industries will be further institutionalized via a newly launched regional employer engagement portal built on a Salesforce platform that provides almost instantaneous industry work-based learning opportunities and other relevant information to faculty and students at the colleges with the co-equal goals to share labor market information, to significantly increase the scale and yield of internship and apprenticeship successes, and to cement industry-college relationships and the co-development of programs and curricula.
Center for a Competitive Workforce, housed at nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), is a Strong Workforce Program regional project of the 19 L.A. region community colleges in the LA/OC Regional Consortium, the Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research at Mt. San Antonio College, and the LAEDC. The Center for a Competitive Workforce (CCW) mission is to better align supply and demand data with labor market intelligence, support industry-driven career education and workforce development programs. This serves to strengthen curricula and industry engagement across our region’s talent development systems with the goal to train, educate and upskill a more competitive workforce in LA County for the knowledge-intensive occupations that will come to dominate our economic future. This partnership improves the readiness and opportunity for students and job-seekers, addresses the talent gaps employers face, and better aligns colleges and workforce development systems with the projected demand of local employers. www.CompetitiveWorkforce.LA
Senior Director of Communications