As the fourth report in a series that examines local economies’ disconnect between employers’ needs and job seekers’ skills, this publication highlights the strengths and areas for improvement of the Dallas-Fort Worth (“DFW”) region. “The DFW region’s future is bright, but more needs to be done to help ensure that all residents can access opportunities to gain the skills that employers value and that lead to the middle class. Further, some key local industries need a growing number of workers to fill middle-skill jobs that can help more DFW residents participate in the region’s economic growth. The good news is that significant efforts are already underway to increase education and skill levels and to align postsecondary and workforce development programs with industry needs.
“Through the New Skills at Work initiative, JPMorgan Chase proposes to help enhance these efforts by offering guidance on how to develop a demand-driven career pathways system to launch young people and low-skill adults into good jobs with advancement potential. Starting with the middle-skill occupations open in the healthcare and information technology sectors, JPMorgan Chase has provided a targeted opportunity to implement this strategy in the DFW region, help fortify the regional economy for the future, and advance the vision that all residents have the opportunity for good jobs that enable them to support themselves and their families” (p.23).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)Full Publication Title: Strengthening Dallas-Fort Worth: Building a Middle-Skill Pipeline to Sustain Economic Growth and Expand Opportunity
Major Findings & Recommendations
“The region has laid a strong foundation for developing more robust middle-skill career pathways. Dallas and Fort Worth have solid workforce development and community college systems that offer a wide range of industry-recognized credentials in high-demand fields. Local stakeholders have been collaborating to expand the middle-skill talent pool for high-demand jobs. The Regional Workforce Leadership Council has organized ‘industry clusters’ in major sectors, including healthcare and IT, to improve and expand training for prospective and current employees. “The DFW region can build on existing efforts by establishing a career pathways system that effectively engages and prepares low-skill adults to meet the growing demand for middle-skill employees in high-growth sectors. Local stakeholders, especially in Dallas and Fort Worth, are well positioned to accomplish this goal” (p.7). Specific recommendations for the DFW region include: • “Strengthen the ‘first rung’ of career pathway programming so that more low-income, low-skilled adults can effectively prepare for and earn middle-skill credentials” (p.7). • “Invest in comprehensive student supports that help more low-income students persist in and complete middle-skill training” (p.7). • “Promote employer leadership in developing career pathways and expanding sector-based strategies” (p.7). • “Develop stronger connections between workforce development resources and the region’s high-need communities and populations” (p.7). • “Increase public awareness of middle-skill job opportunities” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)