For our region to prosper economically, and sustain a high quality of life, it needs an educated, skilled labor force. The quality of the labor force is probably the single most important factor driving future economic prosperity. The region is in constant competition with other metropolitan areas to attract both businesses and skilled workers.
Regions that lack a strong labor force will have difficulty competing because, for most industries, labor force quality has become more important than physical assets or location. GO TO 2040 recommends that the region's education and workforce development systems be improved to create a high-quality labor force for our future.
However, there are significant challenges to achieving this goal. Not just in the regional but across the U.S., student achievement has been declining compared to other industrialized nations. Access to high quality educational opportunities is quite inequitable, with dramatic differences in achievement across racial, ethnic, and economic lines. The workforce development system – which is meant to provide people with skills they need to succeed in the workplace, is complex, with a variety of programs, initiatives, and funding sources. Because of the complex number of players, coordination and communication between both the education and the workforce development systems is limited, and the actual needs of employers and workers are often not fully reflected. As the rate of economic and technological change grows, individuals increasingly need to learn new skills and be retrained multiple times, meaning that effective, adaptable, and coordinated systems for education and workforce development are increasingly important.
Manufacturing Partnership Strategic Plan for the Golden Corridor. In 2009, the Village of Hoffman Estates helped form the Golden Corridor Manufacturing Group (GCMG) to represent and organize manufacturing stakeholders in the area. With the help of CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, the GCMG is seeking ways to expand and develop programs and resources that expose students and their parents, as well as school administrators, to the newly evolved manufacturing field and its career opportunities.