Mayor Chris Beutler today encouraged the community to participate in the new "Make it Work for Lincoln" initiative to identify skill gaps in the City's workforce. The Lincoln chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) is spearheading the effort, which will involve surveys of employers and employees conducted by the Nebraska Departments of Economic Development and Labor (NDED and NDOL). The initiative was introduced to the community during a lunch program today at Bryan Health.
"While Lincoln continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, ASTD members have become concerned about unfilled jobs and those workers who remain unemployed or underemployed," Mayor Beutler said at a news conference before the program. "Some businesses are struggling to find employees with the required skills for available jobs, while workers struggle to acquire new skills. I commend the ASTD for bringing together the private, government and education sectors to create a project that could serve as a model for other communities."
In 2013, the ASTD formed a volunteer Knowledge Management Council to identify a solution to its concerns. Council Chair Dr. Nancy Stelter said the surveys will help identify the resources, educational opportunities and skill levels necessary for future workforce development.
"Our overall goal is to provide employers with highly-skilled workers and to attract new businesses and new jobs to our City," said Stelter. "We will be able to keep more college graduates in our community, increase the standard of living and broaden our tax base. Our plan to 'Make it Work for Lincoln' will create a solution tailored for our community."
NDED and NDOL will work with UNL to conduct the surveys in late summer and early fall, and the results will be released at a Capstone event November 20. The Council will issue its recommendations for new training programs at that time. The Council also will produce a booklet of all programs and services available for underemployed and unemployed workers. Stelter said an ongoing network will be established to facilitate communication among workers, employers, educators and training providers to keep up with changing needs.
"The Departments of Economic Development and Labor are proud to be a partner in the 'Make It Work for Lincoln' initiative," said Catherine Lang, NDOL Commissioner and NDED Director. "The initiative is the first opportunity to conduct two studies, which together will provide real data to observe the gap between the skills needed by our employers and the skills possessed by the labor force. This data will help inform the workforce system and its partners about the training needs to address this gap in a highly strategic way."
More information on the initiative is available at astdlincoln.org.