The BB2C Community Meeting took place last week and included 40 people representing education, employers, community organizations, and even a high school student participating in the internship program. Misty Crosby was one of our speakers for the evening, and she started off the conversation by explaining the ways in which the term “workforce” is used in our region. One thing to note is that the term is not used in K-12 education, for the most part. She is continuing the conversation for this week’s blog.
In her own words….
Workforce development has turned into a “buzz phrase” in quite a number of communities in southeast Ohio. People and organizations are talking about it – employers, educators, policy makers, training providers, funders – and each of these groups and individuals are both important to the conversation and essential to finding solutions to common challenges.
For Buckeye Hills Regional Council, workforce development refers to the effort given to growing the people, businesses and institutions that support our economy now and in the future.
As a Council of Governments celebrating our 50th year, Buckeye Hills has supported our member local governments and partners by offering access to resources that improve communities throughout the region. Workforce development has long been a part of our mission, and our agency has long engaged in supporting efforts at the organizational level.
We support organizations that provide training, that provide employment, and that provide other necessary supports for people to succeed. Our support has taken many forms; from prioritizing and advocating for funding of job training programs at career centers and community colleges to extending public infrastructure to industrial parks that allow for company expansions and start-ups, and much more. We rely on our partners at Jobs and Family Services, local workforce boards, and similar organizations to support individuals in this capacity.
Our workforce development goals are three-fold:
1. Ensure our population has the skillset needed by organizations that provide employment
2. Ensure our residents are aware of and prepared for career opportunities that exist within our communities
3. Ensure our people are well-situated to realize those opportunities
While the scope of how public entities like Buckeye Hills can interact with private entities (especially in terms of funding) is limited, we do work closely with private entities to ensure public investments are pursued as needed. Planning and communication is vital to understanding the needs of our business partners and the ability of our ecosystem to respond to those needs. If our business partners are anticipating challenges or seeing opportunities, together we all are compelled to know how to respond to those challenges and opportunities. Frequent and ongoing communication between all connected to this effort is critical to meeting the needs of the individuals in the workforce and the businesses who need the workforce.
The challenges we face in southeast Ohio are significant and the competition we face is strong, but through a focused and collaborative effort, I believe we can improve the conditions we are experiencing today.