CREC Project News and Updates

Analysis: Addressing the Skills Gap Starts in Your Own Office

March 3, 2016

A survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that government and nonprofit employers have a more-difficult time with recent-graduate hires. Most of the issues cited involve “soft skills.”

Of the 700 employers in the survey who offered feedback on specific troubles they experienced with recent grads, most mentioned communication and critical thinking. Specifically, the employers stated that they often find candidates who cannot put ideas forward, support those concepts, and build upon them. “Soft skills” don’t just stop with communication and critical thinking. They include collaboration and respect for diversity. All too often, these people skills are becoming the value-add for new hires.

As the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), a network managed by CREC, is in the midst of planning its largest-ever conference that hones in on the talent pipeline, industries, and the economy, it’s important for to ask how it and the LMI Institute are further helping managers adapt to entry- and mid-level employees’ needs and to understand key concepts that give the new generation of workers an edge inside of economic development and as labor-market specialists. Part of C2ER’s mission is to foster learning, and we do this by conducting training and developing networks. This works hand-in-glove with the LMI Institute’s approach to provide training and professional development to state and other Labor Market Information (LMI) professionals.

While this year’s conference looks specifically at the global impact of regional partnerships, the curricula is being developed to address:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate to non-technical people in the organization, understand the business needs and deliver that feedback clearly to appropriate audiences.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to understand complex business and governmental issues and solve them with new tools and collaboration.
  • Collaboration: The ability to leverage the strengths and unique perspectives of others within the organization, and work together toward an agreed-upon solution.
  • Team-orientation: The ability to work effectively and thrive as a member of various work groups to bring greater value to the overall organization.
  • Creativity: The ability to find new and innovative approaches to performing the business at hand.

For more than a half century, economic researchers and labor market specialists have added value to state and municipal agencies after attending the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) and LMI Institute’s annual conference provides insight into the U.S. talent pool and expand knowledge on industries and the economy. This year’s event takes place June 6-10 in Minneapolis. We invite you to visit the event site and view the preliminary agenda to learn more.