At every turn, regional and national experts predict a looming, or even active, workforce shortage. To position the region to compete for talent, there’s no better time to set the foundation for a strong workforce development strategy.
APEX received proposals from seven nationally-recognized groups, including site selection consultants, workforce development think tanks, and university-based research organizations. The Talent Forecast partners reviewed the proposals and conducted several interviews to determine which partner was the best fit. The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) was the clear front-runner. The Arlington, Virginia-based firm, has worked on several similar studies throughout the Midwest, and partners with the University of Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making on the deliverables for the study. The Center focuses on regional efforts and is familiar with the nuances of working with large geographies, multiple jurisdictions, and a wide variety of stakeholders.
Work on the study began in July. The projected timeline for completion of the study is eight months. The partners understand the value of research and the complexities of gathering insight from many stakeholders. CREC wisely built in the time required for continuous communication and feedback from APEX and the Talent Forecast partners. This study is anticipated to inform decisions for many years to come.
The first phase of onsite research, set to begin in September, includes interviewing key employers and partners to build the foundation for the study. The second phase will take shape in late October and include interviews with employees, service providers and educators. APEX is in the process of developing a communication portal to inform partners and stakeholders of updates throughout the research phase.
The regional team distributed a request for proposal late in 2017 to summon interest in helping frame advantages, opportunities and challenges of the regional workforce that spans 10 counties and crosses state borders.
The information gathered will help inform future decisions for regional stakeholders – including those in the private sector, education and site consultants surrounding workforce attraction and retention strategies.
Talent Forecast updates keep regional professionals and community members informed of the study progress and our strategic plan moving forward.
Read past updates to track the development of the Talent Forecast project.
The Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, Blandin Foundation, Northland Foundation, Minnesota Power, the Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training, and the Workforce Development Boards in Duluth and northwest Wisconsin. Talent Forecast partners recently selected the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) to conduct a comprehensive assessment to better understand and help close the gap between available positions and a qualified workforce.