Examines the findings from WorkSource Austin's Critical Skills group tasked with identifying manufacturing industry clusters that are key targets of economic development efforts, as well as the contributing factors and root causes of emerging critical skills shortages and recommending solutions.
“In 2005, WorkSource: the Greater Austin Workforce Development Board established the Critical Skills initiative to reinforce economic development efforts by better preparing residents for job opportunities being created. To oversee the initiative, a Critical Skills Task Force was established, composed of representatives from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, industry, Austin Community College, the Austin Independent School District, Travis County, and Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). The main activities of the Critical Skills research were three-fold: (1) to identify industry clusters that were key targets of economic development efforts and emerging critical skills shortage occupations, (2) to determine the contributing factors and root causes of these emerging shortages, and (3) to recommend solutions. In other words, the goal of this initiative was to align regional workforce programs to provide a reliable supply of qualified job seekers to help prevent skill shortages from impeding economic development efforts" (p.v). The Critical Skills Task Force initially focused on industry clusters studied in other reports. “In May 2007, the Critical Skills Task Force approved three topics in advanced manufacturing for further investigation: semiconductor manufacturing, nanotechnology, and mechatronics. The state of Texas had identified Semiconductors and Nanotechnology as key ‘sub-clusters’ under Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing–one of the six major industry clusters targeted by the Texas State Cluster initiative” (p.v). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)