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Growing Our Own with a WIRED Future Meeting the workforce needs of the growing, high-tech industries in Metro Denver David Ford Planning and Policy Analyst.

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Presentation on theme: "Growing Our Own with a WIRED Future Meeting the workforce needs of the growing, high-tech industries in Metro Denver David Ford Planning and Policy Analyst."— Presentation transcript:

1 Growing Our Own with a WIRED Future Meeting the workforce needs of the growing, high-tech industries in Metro Denver David Ford Planning and Policy Analyst Denver Office of Economic Development Greg McBoat Research Economist Development Research Partners Presented to: Workforce Information Driving Regional Economies Conference, Phoenix AZ April 10, 2008

2 The U.S. economy will be faced by a number of serious challenges in the near future Hewitt & Associates: An Aging Workforce A Shrinking Workforce A More Diverse Workforce Globalization of the Workforce Aspen Institute Domestic Strategies Group: Worker Gap Skills Gap Wage Gap The National Workforce Challenge

3 Changing Demographics Colorado has the 7 th fastest growing aging population in U.S. Aging population usually means lower workforce participation Increase in immigrants Educational Pipeline Issues Ranked 25 th in high school graduation rates 11 th lowest in state computer science degree production per 1,000 occupations Imported skilled workforce – The Colorado Paradox WIRED – A National Initiative Colorado’s Challenge

4 Public High School Graduation Rates NCHEMS Information Center Fig. 129 25th While the North Central states continue to graduate students at high levels, Colorado’s ranking rose only slightly. Colorado’s graduation rate of 73.2% in 2004 remains in the middle of the national rankings.

5 State Computer Science Degree Production per 1,000 Occupations NCHEMS Information Center Colorado holds a significant competitive advantage in the information technology sector, yet the state ranks 40th in the production of workers in this key industry. Competitor Texas also struggles to produce these college graduates. Fig. 151 11th Lowest

6  In November of 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor released a Solicitation for Grant Applications for regions to align the workforce system, economic development and education to support the regional economy  WIRED Premise: Talent Drives Prosperity – Regional economies must deliver the high-skilled workforce that businesses need to grow  Much of the thinking behind the solicitation came from the writings of the Council on Competitiveness (  In early 2006, Metro Denver was awarded $15 million over a three- year period as one of these 13 “first generation” WIRED grants  Since that time, 26 additional regions have been awarded WIRED grants of $5 million each The National WIRED Competition

7 U.S. Department of Labor WIRED Awarded Grants 1 st Generation 2 nd Generation 3rd Generation


9 WIRED Metro Denver Nine-County Region

10 Metro Denver’s WIRED Grant  Our application proposed to address the Colorado Paradox  We built on research found in Towards a More Competitive Colorado, conducted by Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) around high-growth industry clusters (aerospace, energy, bioscience, information technology)  We included a partnership with the newly created Regional Workforce Investment Board. The workforce system is an integral part of this equation because:  Our competitiveness as a region depends on our present and future workforce  84% of those who were in Colorado’s labor force in 2005 will be in labor force in 2010  61% of those in Colorado’s labor force in 2005 will still be in labor force in 2020  Colorado Department of Labor & Employment is the grant recipient; Denver’s Office of Economic Development is the local fiscal agent; and Metro Denver EDC is in charge of programs

11 Metro Denver WIRED Goals GOAL #1:Home-grown skilled workforce for WIRED industries GOAL #2:Best region in the country for STEM education GOAL #3:Entrepreneurial climate for business creation and expansion GOAL #4:Post-secondary certificate or an Associate Degree as minimum standard GOAL #5:Regional system that integrates workforce, education, and economic development programs

12 Aerospace Industry Panel (Convener: Vicky Lea) Bioscience Industry Panel (Convener: Jerry McCarthy) Energy Industry Panel (Convener: Mary Jeffreys) IT/Software Industry Panel (Convener: Laura Hahn) K-12 Education Panel (Convener: Colorado Children’s Campaign) Higher Education Panel (Convener: University of Colorado, Graduate School of Public Affairs) Local Workforce Boards Panel (Convener: Workforce Board of Metro Denver [Metro Board]) Small Business Development Centers Panel (Convener: Colorado Small Business Development Center Network) WIRED Leadership Council Guiding principles/criteria: R = Regional S = Sustainable T = Transformational I = Industry Targeted, Innovative U.S. Dept. of Labor ETA Industry Panels Primary Project Convener and Program Oversight Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Supply Panels CDLE Denver OED Subgrantees: JumpStart & Workforce Innovation Grants

13 Metro Denver WIRED Structure 2008 8 Industry/Eco-Devo 4 WIRED Industry Reps 4 Eco-Devo or Eco-Devo Board Members in WIRED Industries 8 Educators 2 University 2 Community College 2 K-12 2 Career/ Technical Educators 8 Workforce 4 Workforce Directors 4 Business Reps in WIRED Industries Fiscal Partners 1 CDLE 1 City & Co. Denver 1 Metro Denver EDC WIRED Leadership Council - Comprised of 27 members representing all partners Solutions Team: Connecting to Industry Solutions Team: Growing Our Own Solutions Team: Optimizing Today’s Workforce Solutions Team: Metro Denver 2010

14 WIRED is funded through H-1B funds which can be used to: 1.Provide job training and related activities to assist workers (including unemployed and employed workers) in gaining skills and competencies needed to obtain or upgrade career ladder employment positions in high growth industries and economic sectors. 2.Assist in the development and implementation of model activities (such as develop curricula to build core competencies and train workers, identify and disseminate career and skill information, and increase the integration of community and technical college activities with activities of business and the public workforce investment system). Source of Funds

15 Measurements All WIRED activities measured under two US DOL metrics: Capacity Building Job-Related Education/Training Three Metro Denver WIRED RFP releases: JumpStart (2006) – Capacity Building Workforce Innovation (2007) (2008) – Job related education/training outcomes

16 Convened 8 panels & Leadership Council Awarded $3.7 million for JumpStart grants and $3.0 million for Workforce Innovations grants Completed research and analysis phase: Asset Mapping, Job Matrices, a Workforce Study, a Gaps and Issues Analysis, a Career Pathways report, a Workforce Competencies Analysis Partnered with Governor’s Office on NGA STEM grant In process of releasing second round of funds for Workforce Innovations grants Activities To Date

17 County Coverage of JumpStart & Innovation Grants 3 JumpStart 5 Innovation 4 JumpStart 5 Innovation 4 JumpStart 6 Innovation 2 JumpStart 2 Innovation 6 JumpStart 6 Innovation 4 JumpStart 5 Innovation 3 JumpStart 4 Innovation 7 JumpStart 5 Innovation 9 JumpStart 7 Innovation

18 JumpStart & Innovation Grant Industries

19 JumpStart & Innovation Grant Awards Aerospace Community College of Denver - JumpStart into Aerospace – (JumpStart) Leveraged an existing NASA-funded degree program in Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology that targeted underserved populations. SpaceDev – (Innovation) High school to high tech aerospace careers, “Straight to Space” program and Entrepreneurial Space Company promoting startups. Aerospace & Bioscience University of Denver - Educating Colorado’s Aerospace & Bioscience Workforce – (JumpStart) Making of an Engineer summer camp using the theme of Engineering in Extreme Sports in aerospace engineering and bioengineering. Bioscience Community College of Aurora - Preparing High School Faculty and Staff in Emerging Technologies – (JumpStart) Train high school teachers in bioscience instruction, use traveling science equipment kits and provide bioscience careers info to students.

20 JumpStart & Innovation Grant Awards Energy Adams County Workforce and Business Center (ACWBC) – (Innovation) Train energy workers at Front Range Community College (FRCC), Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) for commercial driving. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) - Education Today, Energy Tomorrow – (JumpStart) An online education program for high school students to create a pipeline into high-growth careers at local energy companies. Front Range Community College (FRCC) – (Innovation) An Energy Basic Training program that includes 80 hrs of training in Basic Math Skills, Understanding Basic Statistics and Measurements, Introduction to Process Technology, Working in Teams and Communication Skills in the Workplace. The Goodwill Industries of Denver – (Innovation) Paid apprenticeships and entry-level positions with Energy businesses as well as an “Energy Career Summer Camp” iCAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology)- (Innovation) Four two-week courses in energy efficiency presented by The Colorado Energy Science Center (CESC) and E-Star Colorado.

21 Energy (continued) Red Rocks Community College - Building and Sustaining a Pipeline of Process and Maintenance Technicians – (JumpStart) With industry and education partners, process and maintenance technicians for the energy sector are trained to build and sustain a pipeline of job-ready workers. Turnabout, Inc. – (Innovation) Training on Solar Panel Installation, Wind Power Installation and Equipment, OSHA certification, Industrial First Aid/C.P.R. certification, Commercial Drivers License (A and B) for the Energy sector. The Employment Services of Weld County – (Innovation) Job training program for the Multi Industry Systems Technician (MIST), designed to remediate and develop skills for entry and mid-level employment in the Energy industry. Aerospace, Bioscience & IT University of Denver – (Innovation) Placing unemployed and underemployed clients into higher paying jobs in IT, Aerospace and Bioscience industries. All Industries Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) – (JumpStart) Preparing high school students for careers in the aerospace, bioscience, energy and information technology industries. JumpStart & Innovation Grant Awards

22 Regis University – Business and IT Management Bilingual Degree – (JumpStart) Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Colorado Minority Engineering Assoc. ~ Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (CMEA~MESA) – (JumpStart) Pre-collegiate and college-prep STEM competencies and career pathway mentoring programs. Thompson School District - Sustaining Transformation through STEM – (JumpStart) Increased the number of graduates pursuing STEM careers through post-secondary certification programs, associate degrees, and four-year university/college degrees. Information Technology Arapahoe/Douglas Works! – (Innovation) Expert Technician Academy (ETA) program for youth and adults to learn technical skills for all four industries. Arts Street’s “Put Me On the Map” – (Innovation) IT training for youth and young adults in GIS mapping, digital animation, digital video production, interactive communication media, visual informatics and web site content development. Denver School of Science and Technology - 11th Grade Internship Program – (JumpStart)

23 Determining WIRED Industries Utilized cluster analysis Methodology Employment concentration comparison to state and nation Employment levels Five year growth rates Data Sources QCEW Dun and Bradstreet Marketplace Determined nine industry clusters Selected four top industries from that group to target

24 Understanding the Workforce Components of a workforce –Workforce demand –Workforce supply –Workforce skills –Educational pipeline –On-going training –Career ladders

25 Overview Research Summary –Studies used –Strengths and limitations Workforce Gaps –Current and future occupational needs –Skills needed –Workforce Issues Informational Gaps

26 Research Summary Six research sources used to understand the components of the Metro Denver workforce –WIRED Workforce Study (DRP) –Industry Panel Recommendations –Job Matrices from the WIRED Panels –Workforce Competencies (NES) –Career Pathways Study (CAEL) –Asset Map Report

27 Workforce Study Overview Methodology Data Highlights –Skills –Hiring –Education/Training Industry Highlights Summary

28 Methodology Surveying –203 businesses surveyed –Online and telephone survey –Bi-level quota sampling Industry Number of employees Focus Groups –Four meetings –25 industry leaders

29 Data Highlights: Skills Experience and skills were ranked as the most important characteristics of an applicant Basic, foundational skills are challenging to find –Math –Science –Writing Business skills are increasingly important to WIRED businesses –Marketing and sales –Leadership and communications –Finance and budgeting –These skills are most prized when combined with a science and technology background

30 Data Highlights: Hiring Sources Personal networks are used most often when hiring new employees –Word-of-mouth –Professional organizations Paid advertising is also heavily used –Online jobsites –Newspaper and magazine job postings Areas that WIRED businesses would use more often if they knew more about them included: –Personal networks –Educational institutions – Workforce centers are only used by half of WIRED businesses –There is a perception that workforce centers are only useful when hiring entry-level positions –Businesses were unaware of many of the services offered by the centers

31 Data Highlights: Hiring Geography Half of all WIRED businesses hire 100% of their workers from within the WIRED Region When businesses cannot meet their workforce requirements locally they often hire from: –California –Texas –Wyoming Entry-level workers are usually hired locally –As positions require more skill and experience, businesses must look further

32 Data Highlights: Other Hiring Issues Retiring Workforce –Some industries are starting to feel the impact of the retiring baby boomer generation now –Most expect to feel the major impact after 2017 –Different strategies are currently being implemented to retain employees, hire qualified young workers, and work with retiring employees who wish to continue working Industry Image –Perception that youth have little accurate knowledge of the WIRED industries –Perception that only workers with high-level degrees can find solid careers in these industries –Some WIRED industries are perceived as unstable due to previous economic trends or current businesses which grow and are sold –Industry/education partnerships could help to educate teachers, counselors, parents, and students about the reality of these industries

33 Data Highlights: Education Programs Over half of WIRED businesses use at least one intern each year Fewer than 5% of businesses offer registered apprenticeships Half of businesses provide educational reimbursement programs Industries are interested in externship programs with educators

34 Data Highlights: Education Partnerships The biggest challenge with educational partnerships is the financial and human cost –79% of WIRED businesses employ fewer than ten employees –Many of these small companies do not have the human or financial capital for these programs Despite this challenge, WIRED businesses see the need for increased communication between industry and education

35 Data Highlights: Training Programs Ongoing employee training programs –Most common training topics are: Industry specific training Technology and computer application training –75% of training is provided within the WIRED Region Conducted with fewer than ten employees Training lasts 2-7 days Average cost of $500 per employee

36 Industry Highlights: Aerospace In-demand skills include: high tech, and business skills Engineering and craft/trade positions are most needed within the industry Security clearances can be a costly challenge when hiring workforce The industry participates in a number of programs geared towards directing youth to STEM education

37 Industry Highlights: Bioscience In addition to basic skills, project management and high ethical and security standards are valued Most in demand occupations include: –High-level scientists –Engineers –Technicians/associates –Business and operational staff Networking and advertising are the most useful sources for hiring new employees Businesses find value in educational partnerships but struggle to find the resources for them

38 Industry Highlights: Energy In demand Energy occupations include: –Scientists (engineers and physicists) –Technical workers (technicians and maintenance) –Business operations (managers and sales) Governmental regulations limit how some Energy companies hire employees Apprenticeship programs provide successful training of new employees and a clear career ladder to follow There is a demand for more occupational, experiential education to better prepare the incoming workforce

39 Industry Highlights: IT/Software Most important skills include: –Programming and hardware –Sales and marketing –Communications and leadership IT workers important to all WIRED Industries –31% of employees in the WIRED Region are classified as IT workers Highest demand occupations: –Technology workers –Sales and support occupations –Management and operations Businesses would use more education partnerships if processes were easier and clearer

40 Summary One of the most important factors in business location decisions is access to a quality workforce The WIRED Workforce study reveals a disconnect between industry and education –Businesses struggling to find local workers with the skill sets they require –Businesses often look outside the region to fill high- level, high-skilled positions Retiring baby boomers exacerbate this issue Small businesses have limited resources to utilize current workforce programs

41 Summary (continued) WIRED industries could utilize local hiring sources such as workforce centers and college career centers more effectively if they were clearer and easier Communication must be strengthened between WIRED industries and education Increasing and streamlining programs such as intern- and externships will help link youth with WIRED industries This work will help Metro Denver generate a future workforce that is equipped to succeed in diverse WIRED positions.

42 Next Steps Poll students, teachers, job-seekers, counselors Organize WIRED Solutions Teams/Workgroups Release and award additional Workforce Innovations funds Fund transformational/sustainability initiatives Continue to develop partnerships and encourage collaboration through transformational dialogues Bring other WIRED regions’ “promising practices” to Colorado Develop sustainability plan to create a structure that lasts beyond WIRED grant period – finish revising Implementation Plan Implement WIRED communications strategy Continue to work with Governor’s Office on STEM-related issues Work on technology transfer to help grow our clusters Share all curricula developed with other educational institutions throughout region

43 David L. Ford Planning & Policy Analyst / WIRED Grant Manager Denver Office of Economic Development 201 W. Colfax Avenue, Dept. 208 Denver, CO 80202 Phone: (720) 913-1669 e-mail: Greg McBoat Research Economist Development Research Partners 10184 West Belleview Avenue, Suite 100 Littleton, Colorado 80127 Phone: (303) 991-0075 e-mail: General Information:wired@metrodenver.ogwired@metrodenver.og Contact Us

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