Category: Employment and Labor Market

Education and Skills for Tomorrow: Is Your Workforce “Future Ready”?

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Earlier this month my colleague, Dave Brown, published a blog hinting that we, at ncIMPACT, are working on a Future Ready Communities Dashboard. Our current series of blog posts focuses on “What it means to be a Future Ready Community.”

Future Ready Communities will be successful because of their vibrancy, their interconnectedness, and their fluid structures for causing positive human collisions. They will be built on and for great ideas. These communities will lead based on their brain trust, and they will in turn become a magnet, attracting other good minds. The relational effect is clear: Good minds make a community great, and great communities attract good minds.

The benefits of a well-educated population extend far beyond community economics. Moreover, good minds must not be defined only by levels of educational attainment. (We all know a number of highly degreed people who we would not put in the good minds category!) That said, as ncIMPACT designs its Future Ready Communities Dashboard, we will be laser focused on the ways to capture the existence of a local labor market that reflects the educational attainment levels required to meet the needs of jobs of the future. Why? Consider the following. According to the North Carolina Economic Report, published by the NC Department of Commerce in June 2017:

  • North Carolina is projected to add more than 550,000 jobs by 2024.
  • Occupations requiring a master’s degree or higher are projected to experience the greatest percentage increase in employment.
  • Jobs with low educational requirements (occupations requiring no post-secondary or college experience) will have the slowest rate of growth, although they are projected to produce the most job openings as there are more of them today. These openings will be due mostly to replacements rather than new growth.

The NC Department of Commerce goes on to explain that one way to capture the changing nature of jobs is to divide existing occupations into whether they involve primarily manual or cognitive activities, and whether those activities are primarily routine or non-routine. Since the mid-1990s, non-routine jobs have been growing as a portion of total jobs, while the share of routine jobs has fallen. In particular, non-routine cognitive jobs (sometimes thought of as “knowledge jobs”) have increased from 29 percent of jobs in 1994 to 38 percent in 2016, while routine manual jobs (“blue collar jobs”) have fallen from 34 percent to 23 percent. Based on employment projections through 2024, non-routine jobs are expected to continue their growth as a portion of the job market.

Source: Current Population Survey via NC Department of Commerce

The entire country is grappling with the changing nature of work and the resulting implications for educational and skills levels. Recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, in our economic expansion from January 2013 to December 2017, job opportunities increased for college-educated Americans. Their share of the U.S. labor force climbed from 33.6 percent in January 2008, to 36.5 percent in January 2013, to 39.9 percent by December 2017. North Carolina’s local leaders are watching these numbers carefully. For many of them, becoming Future Ready will necessarily involve improving the educational levels and workforce skills of their local labor market.

Opioid Epidemic Ignores Boundaries in North Carolina

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At its recent NC Rural Assembly titled “Claiming Our Future,” the NC Rural Center offered an important discussion on the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. Introduced by Dr. Anu Rao-Patel from Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, the session began with sobering statistics — including the fact that drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in NC (ahead of vehicular crashes). According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, the cost of unintentional opioid related overdose deaths in NC totaled $1.3 billion in 2015. Continue reading

Our Future Workforce: The Rise of the Individual

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This is the fourth and final in a blog series on drivers of change for Our Future Workforce. The other three posts focus on demographics, automation, and business model changes. Our next series will use case studies to offer insights into local and regional efforts in North Carolina seeking to respond to these drivers. Please offer suggestions for case studies here

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Our Future Workforce: The Rise of New Business Models

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This is the third in a blog series on the drivers of rapid and profound changes in who will work and where, when, and how work will be done in the coming years. The first in the series focuses on demographic drivers and the second on automation.

Dramatic industry model changes are forcing companies to reactively reposition their business models or face failure. Take the following example: Black Friday is dead. This was the early, and erroneous, call by bored local news beat reporters as they stood in empty parking spaces outside stores or pointed to people leaving malls with no purchases in hand the day after Thanksgiving. For some retailers, the news coverage may foretell a death sentence, but not for all. Retailers that continue to thrive will do so because they are agile enough to respond to the reality that the reporters missed the point. Black Friday is not dead. Black Friday has moved! Continue reading

Our Future Workforce: Driven by Technological Disruptions

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This is the second in a blog series on drivers of rapid and profound changes in who will work and where, when, and how work will be done in the coming years. The first post on Our Future Workforce can be found here.

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Our Future Workforce: Demographic Drivers

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The nature of work is changing rapidly and dramatically. How we prepare for the who, when, where, and how work is done will challenge our state’s leaders and the institutions that support our workforce. To fully understand what lies before us, we must first examine the scale of the drivers of change. Our research at ncIMPACT suggests there are four primary drivers: demographics, disruptive technologies, new business models, and the rise of the individual. This blog post focuses on the first of these, and highlights some important demographic changes in North Carolina.

North Carolina is growing. But according to demographic analysis by our friends at Carolina Demography, much of this growth follows a trend of clustering in the state’s existing population centers, and will continue to do so over the next two decades. As people increasingly reside in those areas, strong job growth tends to concentrate there, too.

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What You Told Us in the ncIMPACT Planning Survey

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We launched ncIMPACT in 2017 to help public officials in North Carolina navigate critical policy challenges across a wide range of topics, including health, education, economic development, criminal justice, public finance, and the environment. As we planned this new initiative, we wanted to hear from practitioners and other citizens about the most vexing policy issues in their community and in the state as a whole, and what we could do to help. As such, in January 2017 we drafted an online survey and distributed it with the assistance of various peer associations and a targeted Twitter campaign. Over the course of two months, we received 154 responses to our survey. Please read on for an analysis of our results. Continue reading

Welcome!

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Welcome to the ncIMPACT blog, where we feature posts on the following topics:

  • Community and Economic Development
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Employment and Labor Market
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Health
  • Innovation
  • Public Finance
  • Technology

Would you like to become a guest blogger? Please contact us.

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