Unable to articulate a workforce alignment protocol for employers’ needs to the workforce development system, The Greater Memphis Chamber is yet again, punting workforce development. This time the punt comes in the form of an announcement of a a new initiative that includes a 9 month implementation schedule. Why wait 9 months? Why not go ahead and get started TODAY with connected workforce development?
Getting started with implementation immediately is the solution to local workforce development needs. And getting started does not exclude “shiny new” open platform programs such as Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) as advocated for recently by the Greater Memphis Chamber. In fact, as an open platform, TPM can be accommodated to come in and bless or supplement started work whenever it finally arrives.
But imperfectly Getting Started is the key, as educators and employers clamor for leadership on workforce development from the business community. While there are significant opportunities for TPM and the locally offered PathTrek process to work together, unlike TPM, the PathTrek process gets started today – while stressing the importance of using common language and the Strickland Administration endorsed ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) in support of workforce development efforts.
This article discusses the following:
- Chamber punt on workforce
- Getting started today with the locally offered PathTrek process for workforce development
- An overall favorable analysis of Talent Pipeline Management (TPM)
Chamber Punt – Implementation Woes
Getting started immediately is not going to happen if the Chamber punts workforce to yet another new initiative. Based on a recent Evanoff article , this time, the punt comes on first down to the “shiny new” Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative after Mayor Strickland declared workforce as the #1 priority in economic development. Kicked aside are available local solutions and highly credible workforce development tools in for example, the ACT Work Ready program that goes unmentioned by the Chamber.
Previously, approximately 1.5 years ago, the Chamber punted its Chairman’s Circle Moon Mission in the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW) program over to the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE). After that Chamber punt, EDGE just packed workforce in and went to the locker room. The cost of punting workforce is estimated to be $500M in lost wages and $15M in lost local tax revenue. A peculiar aversion to the unromantic work of implementation exists in Memphis. It’s Time to Get Started !
Given the local need, as voiced by educators and employers, implementation should not be delayed. Going back to the City Council Committee work over a year ago, starting at about 32:20 in the video, educators effectively beg for business community leadership in the form of a coherent centralized marketing approach to support workforce development efforts.
In search of an answer to centralization, in the video, Gary Rosenfeld smartly googles “Memphis Jobs” and Indeed pops up at the top of the list. For unknown reasons, in the meeting, the World’s leading job board in the easy to use Indeed to promote job openings as part of a coherent and centralized solution is shot down for advertising. Do what ? Advertising job openings is a problem ?!?! Currently, Indeed is showing 12,000 Memphis job openings.
And at the “Age of Agility” conference, earlier this summer where Dr. Candice McQueen and Dr. David Rudd spoke, educators were most curious of how to get the business community involved in education. Business leadership is needed to support educators in meeting employer demand. Solutions to help facilitate that work were written about earlier this summer.
Locally Offered PathTrek Process – Time to Get Started !
The locally offered research based PathTrek process stresses Getting Started. Coming 4 years before TPM, but like TPM, the locally offered PathTrek stresses the use of career pathways and common language to support workforce development efforts with employers as the primary customer of the workforce development system .The use of common language is nothing new. After all, common language is what the ACT Work Ready Communities program is all about.
But unfortunately, driven by high level choices, common language in workforce development remains unimplemented after 4 years of dealing with the “elephant in the room” in the disconnected Memphis Corporate Community Leadership (MCCL) complex. MCCL has a special proclivity toward prioritizing excessive tax incentives and not the workforce in economic development work. MCCL consists of Memphis Tomorrow, Greater Memphis Chamber and EDGE.
The PathTrek process prioritizes workforce development and starts with a 1 day Getting Started implementation. The 1- day implementation includes ready to go elements in 1) publication of employer demand data and 2) the promotion of the Strickland Administration’s ACT Work Ready program.
Additional early implementation elements would encourage local leaders to select a common commercially available and reputable job board to promote local job availability and advocacy for the Greater Memphis Chamber to represent the workforce development needs of employers through the articulation of an alignment protocol. A workforce alignment protocol helps to define and guide local workforce development efforts much like a definition for “economic development” would guide local economic development work. But Memphis has neither. Without an overarching alignment protocol for employer needs, the workforce development system does not know how to align their efforts to serve their primary customer in employers.
Informed by a workforce alignment protocol, academic standards-based curriculum alignment and implementation would occur over the first 3 months. While like TPM, PathTrek is a flexible open platform, when recommending implementation assets, PathTrek recommends world leading best of breed tools. Examples include: 1) O*NET for an occupational information data source, 2) Indeed job board technology and 3) ACT Work Ready assessment tools. Please proceed here to learn more about PathTrek.
About Talent Pipeline Management
The open TPM process has several attractive elements that recognizes the employer as the customer of the workforce development system and includes 1) data demand driven employer requirements and 2) common language development to facilitate professionally diverse stakeholder communication. At the same time, the US Chamber authored TPM, as written, comes with a 9 month implementation schedule and lacks meaningful definition, educational and learner supports. For instance, there is not any definition or discussion around the universal concepts of academic standards or the use of O*NET which is the world leader in occupational information.
While light on specific non-binding examples, perhaps because of its open design, TPM provides a framework for the insertion of workforce development implementation assets which could involve a range of potential providers. It is suspected that TPM’s partner in Strada Education and its affiliates would sell product into the framework. The partner network seems mostly geared for post-secondary and adult audiences. Some TPM products may be locally needed at some point others perhaps not, hence the accommodating open TPM process design.
Strada affiliates include the Center for Adult Experiential Learning, College Confidential, DXtera Institute, Education at Work, EMSI, Inside Track and Road Trip Nation. Of the former providers, based on services ready to go today on the ground in Memphis today and locally researched, competition exists between EMSI and Road Trip Nation.
Overall, the TPM framework provides a solid process for connecting workforce development efforts. The process organizes employer groups and leverages employer demand data to inform common language development, curriculum and program offering while measuring results to inform workforce development improvement efforts.
Solution – Get Started !
The major downside to the otherwise favorable TPM process, is the 9-month implementation schedule and not Getting Started right away. Imperfectly and expeditiously getting started is paramount ! So how to go about Getting Started ?
- Determine a centralized job board. How about Indeed, the World Leader?
- Publish Employer Demand Data – Its ready to go now !
- Promote ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and get as many NCRCs administered as possible by June 1, 2018
- Work with Chamber on a simple alignment protocol to generally inform the workforce development system of customer employer needs
- PILOT ready to go career planning curriculum in Q1/Q2 and implement Q3/Q4
- Wait for TPM to arrive
Getting Started with implementation has several benefits. In fact, not Getting Started will result in more of the same. Getting Started is likely to result in improved workforce development outcomes. And after Getting Started with improving workforce development efforts that translates into improved economic development outcomes for all. That is why Getting Started is so important. Let’s get started !