The question employers and economic development agencies continue to hear is, “Do you have a qualified and available workforce?”, Bob Potts, research director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said during his presentation at the monthly NNDA Breakfast meeting tied with National Manufacturing Month.
Positive indicators show that target sectors are starting to grow. “The economy is improving with higher paying jobs, increase in payroll taxes and consumer spending in key target sectors, supporting what the Governor envisioned. We need to continue to think strategically and move forward to build a resilient economy.”
Other key takeaways from Potts’ presentation include:
- Exports continue to grow and are exceeding imports. According to Potts, “This is where we need to be. It’s an excellent metric to show that the economy is healthy because of all the secondary job created in the export and supporting areas.”
- Although as a five-county region we are above pre-recession unemployment rates overall, the Sierra Region (four counties) lost 10,700 jobs and has only gained 4,600. “An indicator that people left the region and our local workforce isn’t prepared,” Potts said.
- In the five-county region of northern Nevada, 235,000 people live and work in the region with roughly the same number living outside the region and coming in to work as those living in the region and working someplace else.
- Approximately 12 percent live in and work out of or work in and live out of the Sierra Region meaning that as many people live someplace else and work in the region as live in the region and work outside the region.
Following the state of the economy as it relates to the workforce, Frank Woodbeck, vice chancellor for workforce development for the Nevada System of Higher Education spoke.
In addition to providing actual numbers of the available workforce from high school to higher education, Woodbeck said, “The recession showed our education shortfalls as a region.”
Woodbeck went on to talk about an education cycle that speaks to the individual and not our beliefs. “I see our goal to help make good citizens and pave their way for success. Parents need to start looking beyond the four-year college degree as the only measure of success. Instead, look to opportunities to continue the educational path up through and after high school. With so many regional skilled trade and education programs, there’s no reason we can’t be developing the type of workforce companies are looking for.”
Monthly NNDA Breakfast meetings focus on key issues of our local economic and growth potential for employers with featured guest presentations from industry experts.
Next meeting is Nov. 15 at the Carson Valley Inn held in collaboration with the Carson Valley Chamber.