LAEDC CCW releases its inaugural report on workforce development

An analysis of the workforce needs of Los Angeles County and Orange County indicates a shortage of skilled workers, but area community colleges can close this gap.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s Center for a Competitive Workforce released its first report on the state of the workforce Tuesday morning at its Future Forum.

The CCW report, entitled L.A. & Orange County Community Colleges: Powering Economic Opportunity is the initial step in developing the future workforce for Los Angeles and Orange County, an economic region home to millions of residents. Today’s report is the foundation for more collaboration between the region’s community colleges and the LAEDC to identify workforce development solutions aligned with the needs of employers.

The study’s authors found that the LA Basin’s community colleges, the largest supplier of skilled workers, may not meet the demands of local industries in the near future. This is leading to a skills gap where workers are increasingly disconnected from growth industries and employers are deprived of skilled workers.

“This report offers great information for the colleges and will spur partnerships with local businesses, and I think this report will also help inform students, who ultimately drive demand for programs and classes in the community college system,” said Bill Scroggins, President of Mt. San Antonio College.

The CCW identified 20 middle-skilled occupations in growth industries (e.g. bioscience, advanced manufacturing, health care) and how the community college system is preparing students to enter these careers. By 2021, the CCW said, only 58 percent of the workforce needs of employers will be met because current students are not within pathways for the jobs of the future.

They found that only 7,800 awards awarded during the 2014-2015 academic year – comprised of graduate degrees or certifications – were for careers within these key occupations. At this rate, there will be a workforce shortage for the approximately 67,450 job openings for these occupations over the next five years, the study said.

“This report is filled with valuable data and we hope that post-secondary institutions and businesses utilize this information in meaningful ways, Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce said. “This data can guide decisions on investments necessary to fill existing skills gaps and help build better systems that tightly align workforce development with local business/industry need.”

To read the entire report: click here.