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A Wrap-Up of the Best of 2019 Workforce Development Innovations

The way communities approach workforce development is rapidly evolving as technology drastically changes the way companies operate. A strong, adaptive, and innovative workforce development strategy remains the key to staying relevant in the future. 

2019 Workforce Development -
3 Key Concepts

These are three of our top performing posts from 2019 about workforce development. We’re revisiting these discussions and trends, and why they matter to resilient communities.

1. How to Build a Community Workforce Development Strategy 

Having a strong workforce development strategy is a key foundation for strong workforce growth. But it can be tough to predict the future; high-quality current data is essential. An active and stable workforce development strategy supports consistent and positive economic development and community growth. Citizens who feel needed and empowered in their community are dedicated to their community. Newcomers who feel supported in their transition to their new home are more likely to stay. Residents who feel stable and supported are more likely to spend locally, buy property, and start new businesses in the community. 

With current and relevant data, a municipality can anticipate and plan for the needs of its business community, instead of having to react to emergencies. Supporting education programs that are relevant to local industry means fewer people need to relocate for work or education. It also means that when local industries are ready to expand, the community can work with educational institutions to ramp up programs to match that expansion. Having a successful workforce development strategy is the key to community resilience in economically challenging times. It’s a community’s competitive edge.

2. What Does the Changing Workforce Mean for Workforce Development?  

image3-2In the next decade 25% of current jobs will be heavily disrupted by artificial intelligence, automation, digitization, and robotics. Jobs that are highly repetitive and systematized will likely be replaced or augmented by AI. These workforce changes will increase safety and improve production, but may also cause job losses. Automation systems require development and support teams, however, meaning more jobs for coders, repair techs, installation teams, and trainers for new high-tech jobs. Here are three areas of competency that future workplaces will need:

  • A basic level of competence with computer skills, digital communication, and familiarity operating within a digital interface will be essential. 
  • Adaptability, core skills, and a willingness to learn will be more important than years of experience.
  • Soft skills, which automation and AI do not yet possess, will become essential as humans provide the buffer between artificial intelligence/automation and the human consumer.

3. An Innovative Workforce Strategy for Business  Retention (and Attraction)

As technology and automation drastically change the landscape of our economies, communities face big challenges attracting and retaining businesses and residents. These economic changes demand innovation as BR+E techniques evolve and adapt to meet future needs. Innovation can be an intimidating concept, but it doesn’t have to be huge or expensive. Innovation on a small scale, spread out over an entire community, can have a significant impact. In Clinton, Ontario, a town of 3000+, pulling $60,000 out of the operating budget to support new business may seem impossible. But when spread out across the population of the town, it's only $20 per person for one year of rent for five new businesses. Five new businesses in a town of 3000 people has a huge impact, and kicks off strong revitalization for the downtown core. Here are our biggest takeaways from this article:

  • Innovative strategies are the key; the craziest ideas might be the most impactful.
  • Innovation doesn’t have to be huge, monumental, or expensive. Small innovations can cause a long-lasting positive ripple effect.
  • Leveraging real-time data helps clarify where a community needs to innovate, and helps establish a solid base for developing an attraction and retention strategy.

Communities have many exciting opportunities to adapt to the changes in workforce development that are happening as a result of technology and AI. Building a strong and innovative strategy that embraces these changes is the key to resiliency and community growth.

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