Julien's Journal January 2017 (Volume 42, Number 1) - Page 28

FEATURES

FEATURES

workforce challenges , and that package of solutions will look different in every community , including in the Greater Dubuque area . Because workforce shortages are unique in each community , the solutions to address them must be local as well . On December 2 , 2016 , Greater Dubuque Development released its 2016 Skills Gap Analysis in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College . The purpose of the Skills Gap Analysis is to provide the community with accurate information on projected workforce gaps and the local labor overview to drive data-informed solutions customized for our region . The report was compiled through one of the most comprehensive workforce analytics tools on the market , EMSI Analyst . EMSI projections state that in the next ten years Dubuque and all six contiguous counties will continue to experience a tightening pool of available workers as job growth climbs through company expansion and retirements , while at the same time the working age population declines . This narrowing of the worker pool is complicated by the labor force participation rate , which indicates that only about 70 % of residents age 16 + in the region actually take a job ( nationally , this rate is at an all-time low hovering around 62.5 %).
The adults not participating in the workforce may be in college , retired , engaged in home responsibilities , or out of work and not looking for work for a variety of other reasons . The report also highlights the top 60 occupations with the highest projected skills gaps over the next ten years for occupations paying $ 16.00 per hour or more . The top 20 occupational gaps include a mix of careers requiring training from an industry-recognized certificate to an advanced degree , with most needs centered around middle-skill careers that do not require a four-year education , but do require training beyond high school . This is consistent with jobs available in our economy as well : For every one advanced degree needed , we need two bachelor ’ s degrees and seven technical or associate ’ s degrees . These middle-skill needs include heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers , construction laborers , industrial machinery mechanics , quality technicians , and dental hygienists . In addition , five out of the top ten skills gap occupations could not be filled by entry-level graduates , but are higher-level positions that represent opportunities for employers to upskill their existing workforce to advance up the ladder . This kind of training is available through our local community and technical colleges as well .
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Cotributed by Greater Dubuque Development .
Overall , the Top 60 Skills Gap occupations represent a shortfall of 2,655 skilled graduates in the next decade . However , if all 404 occupations in our market are included , this skilled worker gap disappears , suggesting we have a mis-alignment of graduates and jobs . We also know that some careers such as nursing , accounting , and software development represent shortage areas in our region , even though we are graduating enough individuals with those skills . This dynamic represents an additional challenge of retaining new graduates in the region ( and recruiting in recent graduates ) through competitive employment opportunities . This is what employers in the Greater Dubuque area can do today to address the skills gaps we face :
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