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State of the St. Louis Workforce

St. Louis Community College
November 30, 2016
Quarterly Blog

Community Colleges are amazing higher education institutions.  They educate approximately 13 million students each year, and the majority of the country’s college freshman and sophomores are in community colleges. Community colleges offer the public an incredible value, as they present the opportunity for students to learn from highly educated, experienced and dedicated faculty whose primary role is to teach within their subject area and prepare students directly for the workforce and/or further higher education.  As they relate to affordability, community colleges offer students the opportunity to gain a valuable education without incurring a mountain of debt and in many cases, through state and federal aid, and/or assistance through private donations and scholarships, can attend college and attain a degree or credential for little or no cost.

Through the years, St. Louis Community College has provided educational opportunities to over 1.2 million individuals of the St. Louis MSA via a wide variety of programming and modalities.  The College has also been heavily engaged in workforce and economic development activities to ensure alignment of its programs and services to the communities it serves.

Since 2009, the College has partnered with the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) and other research partners to develop an annual report that looks through the conceptual lens of the workforce.  In taking this perspective, the College and its partners provide analytics and intelligence regarding the status of economic conditions within the region for our business partners, and also uses report data to assist the College in responding to area employer needs.

The theme for this year’s State of the St. Louis Workforce Report is Manufacturing, Healthcare, Transportation and Logistics – Driving the Economy.   We decided to focus on these three industries this year for a variety of reasons, in particular due to the fact that nearly one of every four jobs in the St. Louis economy exists in one of these economic sectors.

For this year, we conducted telephone interviews with 478 employers representing the three industry sectors in the St. Louis region.  With the help of our partners at MERIC, we compiled labor market information from public sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.  To provide deeper insights, we used analytical tools such as the Burning Glass real-time labor market analytics tool.  We also interviewed key leaders in the manufacturing, healthcare and transportation and logistics sectors to gain additional insight.

Key findings indicated current and projected shortages of skilled labor in each of the sectors.  The Report also demonstrated the highest need for additional education in these sectors in the long term training to an associate degree level, and for the second consecutive year cited the “Shortage of Workers with Knowledge and Skills” as the most significant barrier to expanding employment in our region.

As an educator, I clearly see the urgency expressed by employers for highly skilled workers and the resulting need to develop well defined pathways to a degree, certificate and/or an industry recognized certification that lead to high wage jobs.  The programs and training opportunities at St. Louis Community College will be the solution to many of the needs expressed in the Report, and we stand prepared to serve our community in the coming years!

Sincerely,

Jeff L. Pittman, Chancellor

To download the entire State of the St. Louis Workforce Report, please go to STLCC.edu/STLworkforce.

 

 

 

 

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