Workforce intro

Nov 20, 2017

Workforce

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.

Examples

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.

Workforce Updates

Commute trends of CMAP region freight and manufacturing workers

Metropolitan Chicago's workforce is one of the most important factors in a strong regional economy.  An integral element -- regional workforce mobility, measured in this Policy Update by...

Population change and geographic mobility in the CMAP region

A Policy Update assesses trends in U.S. Census data on migration and population change in our region and discusses their implications.

Searching for Evidence of a Skills Gap in Manufacturing

New Policy Update looks at quantitative labor market data to determine the extent of the manufacturing skills gap in metropolitan Chicago.

White House Releases FY16 Budget Proposal

A Policy Update describes housing and workforce and economic development provisions in the Obama Administration's $4 trillion budget proposal for FY16 .

STEM Employment Trends in the Chicago Region

Innovation is a key factor in maintaining a globally competitive region, and policymakers and industry leaders look increasingly to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields to help...

New CMAP Report Examines Opportunities for Reorienting Economic Development in Region, State

Continued economic growth depends on the region and state’s ability to reorient policies and practices.

Alternative Unemployment Measures Help Contextualize the Economic Downturn

CMAP's regional economic indicators microsite features key measures of metropolitan Chicago's economy and, where applicable, compares these measures to peer metropolitan areas.  The...

Indicators Shed Light on Chicago Region’s Innovation Economy

On July 28, CMAP released data and analysis on innovation indicators -- venture capital activity, private-sector R&D employment, technology transfer, and patent production.

Improved GO TO 2040 Case Study Library

Completed Local Technical Assistance projects and GO TO 2040-related work are highlighted in a new interactive map.

Clusters Indicators Highlight Importance of Freight, Manufacturing in Region

On July 21, CMAP released data and analysis on clusters indicators – intermodal lifts, manufacturing and freight cluster employment and industry location quotients, and manufacturing exports.