The Workforce Alliance was seeking a detailed analysis of the labor market for the South Central Workforce Investment Area (WIA) region emphasizing growth, job projections, trends, career ladders and wages. CERC utilized industry data from the Connecticut Department of Labor to better understand trends between 2005 and 2009. This five-year period was critical for the South Central WIA, as well as the state and nation, because the latest economic recession had both cyclical and structural causes. CERC also analyzed occupation projections from the Connecticut Department of Labor to see which jobs were projected to grow. For current estimates CERC partnered with Monster Government Solutions to analyze online job posting data at the national level and in the South Central WIA. Monster provided insights and analysis of demand and supply side data related to occupations, industries, experience and education.
The Alliance also needed research and information on the characteristics and demographic composition of the existing workforce in the region, including how the workforce has changed in the last ten years and projections on how it will change in the future. CERC gathered and analyzed demographic information on the municipalities that compose the South Central WIA to depict the current and changing demographic composition of the workforce.
Finally, the Alliance was looking for research and information on the characteristics and composition of the unemployed in the region. First CERC analyzed unemployment rates by town to see how municipalities, as well as the South Central WIA as a whole, had fared during the latest economic recession. Next, CERC analyzed a customized database, provided by the Connecticut Department of Labor, which provided annual data on first-time unemployment claimants in the state between 2003 and 2009. This database showed from which industries the unemployment claimants hailed along with benefits paid and other characteristics. Looking at the data over time showed how the latest economic recession had affected the number of unemployed, which industries and benefits paid.
The Alliance needed to assess the effectiveness of their programs to be sure that their training was matching the needs of their clients. The recession was causing things to change rapidly and they needed real-time occupational data to give them accurate insights.
CERC provided the Alliance with a full technical report and presented the findings to both the Workforce Alliance Chief Elected Officials Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
The key findings from these analyses enabled them to develop a plan for determining the best investments for workforce training resources. They had to renew their focus, realizing that it was now more important to look at occupations rather than industries and that general employability skills – job readiness for the population as whole – was a priority over industry sector training. Because of this new approach, the Alliance needed to revise their strategic plan and they hired CERC to develop and complete this for them.