Access to a well-trained and talented workforce is an absolute necessity for businesses to successfully compete in today’s economy. Having a high level of talent who is trained and able to continue learning as work processes change over time has become the most pressing concern of business leaders in the Capital Region. Establishing a talent development system that streamlines training delivery based on market demands is a critical component of a healthy system of economic development.
This strategy paper outlines BRAC’s support for the Governor’s proposed redevelopment of Louisiana’s workforce systems and how BRAC will help facilitate executing the statewide program on a regional level. The strategy paper also details the current challenges associated with the workforce situation as well as specifies the impacts that the pending legislation will have on addressing the issues from both a state and regional level.
Regional Workforce Analysis
Worker scarcity is not an issue isolated to any one firm or industry in the Baton Rouge area. Nor is it an entirely new phenomenon nationally. However, in today’s hurricane recovery, the availability of qualified labor has moved to the top of the list of Baton Rouge area business concerns. In 2007, it surpassed 2006’s leading corporate killjoy, traffic congestion, in BRAC’s Baton Rouge Area Economic Outlook Survey.
Spurred by the increasing difficulty to match workers with job vacancies, a community-wide call to accelerate workforce solutions emerged. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber—as part of its 2007 Business Plan—commissioned a workforce assessment from a team of economic and workforce development consultants Younger Associates (YA) and Wadley Donovan Group (WDG). The result was the 2007 Baton Rouge Area Workforce Assessment, involving a survey of 1,240 Baton Rouge area residents and 96 employers, 22 community stakeholder interviews, and extensive statistical analyses. The assessment yielded a robust examination of labor supply and demand, job candidate strengths and weaknesses, current workforce development efforts, and untapped labor resources.