Based on a demand-side strategy that targets jobs and employers in industry sectors or clusters, the Workforce Potential Project's targeted approach is likely to be more productive in raising incomes, meeting employer needs, and promoting economic growth for Austin area residents.
"Austin Area Research Organization’s Workforce Potential Project seeks to recover and upgrade under‐utilized human capital in the Central Texas area to enhance socio‐economic equity and spur regional economic growth and expansion" (p.1). Seeking strategies for increasing the earnings and employment opportunities for Austin residents, the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) sponsored this study based on, "[e]merging evidence on workforce development [which] strongly suggests that a demand‐side strategy of targeting jobs and employers in a handful of industry sectors or clusters, rather than more traditional, less targeted job development, is likely to be more productive in raising incomes, meeting employer needs, and promoting economic growth.... From an analysis of labor market information, the Ray Marshall Center identified 17 occupations across four clusters (health and life sciences, information technology, trades, and administrative and related occupations) that meet AARO’s criteria and offer promise for implementation of the Workforce Potential Project" (p.v). This paper shares the findings and makes recommendations for the Workforce Potential Project, which is developing a demand-side strategy. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"Ray Marshall Center researchers identified four categories with promising occupations: • Health and Life Sciences • Information Technology • Trades • Administrative and Related Within these clusters, researchers targeted 17 occupations for further research" (p.1). "Researchers [then] examined the selected occupations more closely...to validate the occupational prospects in terms of projected growth, wages, education/provider capacity, and labor hiring practices, including hiring norms, as well as requirements of employers in the occupational clusters. Additionally, researchers probed emerging and “below‐the‐radar” job prospects with human resource professionals and labor market analysts knowledgeable of the local labor market" (p.2). Findings from this research are summarized on pages vi-viii and detailed findings and recommendations make up the body of the report. A few key findings include: • Obtaining an associate’s degree is often not sufficient to gain employment at $18 per hour or more. • Industry hiring practices and institutional factors can impede direct access to regular full-time employment. • Employability skills and basic skills are foundational. • There is considerable need for scholarship funding, which has been reduced at both the state and federal levels, childcare and other student supports. • Workforce intermediary services are needed to improve communication and collaboration between industry and Austin Community College. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)