Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Maine Career Development Association Workforce Trends Fall Workshop

On Friday, November 21st the Maine Career Development Association held its Annual Fall Workshop at the University College at Rockland (UROCK as it is now known). The workshop was fantastic with four great sessions covering labor demographics, the aging workforce, cultural considerations for new Mainers, and an employer panel focusing on the healthcare and technology fields. In my opinion, the most important information that came from the day were the on-line resources that I will share below.

John Dorrer from the Maine Dept. of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) gave a great presentation on labor demographics. Even though the economic outlook is bleak in the near future, I came away with a positive feeling that Maine has the workforce and educational infrastructure to succeed in these difficult times. According to John, data will help us make the most pragmatic decisions on what career fields to focus on. The Local Employment Dynamics website, shared by John, is a great site for economic and workforce folks to have at their fingertips. With a click of the mouse anyone can use this site to do research on Maine's workforce in any field statewide or down to zip code. This is a completely free and very easy to use website. John shared that job growth would be in the healthcare field (51%), professional/business (18%), and leisure & hospitality (17%).

In the second session, Phyllis Cohn of the AARP, discussed issues around Maine's aging workforce. Her main discussion points were about how to help businesses effectively bring together the different generations that are working side-by-side and prepare for secession planning. She shared three resources from the AARP website that will be helpful to career and business counselors. They have a workforce assessment that businesses can use to determine their demographic levels and how they are engaging the workforce. Second, is the AARP's Employer Resource Center that provides much information about the needs of different generations of employees and how they work together. Third, AARP has a list of best employers for older workers. Finally, Phyllis shared one other resource that is not related to the above topic, but I thought it was very interesting. The Center to Champion Nursing is a great advocacy program developed by the AARP and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to promote education and careers in this field.

The final two sessions were covering cultural considerations when working with New Mainers and an employer panel that discussed workforce trends in technology and healthcare. New Mainers are an untapped population that could be extremely important for Maine's workforce in the near future. Joe Kumiszcza, the Executive Director of TechMaine (the technology association in Maine) shared that he is seeing 300 jobs a month on his career website.

1 comment:

Christian McNeil said...

It's been a while since I checked in here, but GrowSmart's knee-deep in discussions about what the federal stimulus package might look like, and these kinds of training programs make even more sense in the context of the new infrastructure investments that seem likely to happen next year.

From what we're hearing, it looks like there will be a big emphasis on green energy technology and electrical grid upgrades, "green" transportation projects, and broadband infrastructure. Take a look at the Center for American Progress website for a sampling of "green recovery" proposals from members of Obama's transition team. Exciting stuff.