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Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB) Community Audit and Needs Assessment

Description
In 2007, the NRWIB hired CERC to prepare, collect, analyze, write and present a comprehensive audit and needs assessment to provide the NRWIB with an overview of the communities it serves, in terms of population, demographics, skill level of current workforce, and labor market information. In 2011 CERC was hired to complete an updated analysis, which included real-time labor market data thanks to a relationship with Monster Worldwide.

Issues
The NRWIB wanted the Community Audit and Needs assessment to provide a basis for expanded services by probing the employer demand and exploring needs of targeted populations and providing a deeper understanding of industry clusters in the area to identify and expose gaps between skills needed and the workforce’s capacity. NRWIB could then plan to modify its services to best meet the needs of the region it serves.

Deliverables

  • Demographic Analysis: Municipal and county data was used to determine what demographic shifts are occurring as well as the implications.  Data regarding populations in need (TANF recipients, high school dropouts, etc.) was gathered from the Department of Labor’s publications.

  • Economic Assessment: CERC prepared an analysis and overview of the changing economic composition of the market region served by the NRWIB with a review of past trends since 1990, current structure and growth projections.

  • Focus Groups: CERC conducted two facilitated discussions with business leaders, local officials and other stakeholders in order to identify local employers’ workforce needs; and identify current gaps between workforce needs and existing competencies.

  • One Stop Studies: The programs offered by the One Stop service centers in the NRWIB region were identified.  The findings from the focus groups, and the demographic and economic analyses served as a basis for NRWIB to consider additional program offerings as a means to improve the overall economic competitiveness of the region.

  • Review of CEDS: CERC also reviewed Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) in the region so that the findings from these existing strategic planning documents would be consistent with any recommendations made through the Community Audit and Needs Assessment.

  • Job Postings Data (new for 2011 analysis): CERC utilized the expertise and data of Monster Government Solutions (MGS) to analyze online, market-wide job posting sourced from hundreds of job sites and in the NRWIB. MGS utilized its real-time supply and demand-side labor market intelligence databases to analyze key talent supply/demand metrics in the NRWIB to figure out what the talent supply/demand balance was within the major occupations and what gaps existed between education and work experience.

Outcomes
In the initial analysis in 2003, CERC presented more than a dozen specific recommendations based on the audit to NRWIB to consider in expanding/modifying services to meet employer demand and the needs of the region’s population. With the 2011 analysis, CERC took the previously completed report into account while providing new research with a new set of ten recommendations for more efficiently providing workforce resources to employees and employers.