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Tampa Bay Partnership Launches Employer-led Workforce Initiative To Strengthen Regional Talent Pipeline

By January 8, 2019 January 16th, 2020 No Comments

Tampa Bay employers will need to fill an estimated 850,000 job openings over the next five years, including 78,000 jobs that don’t exist today, according to a report released this week by the Tampa Bay Partnership. To meet that impending demand, the Partnership is launching a regional workforce initiative, Tampa Bay Works, that will help employers more effectively communicate their current and future hiring needs to local education and training providers.

As its pilot project, the Partnership will establish two employer collaboratives to adopt the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Talent Pipeline Management™ (TPM) model, an employer-led approach to demand planning and managing talent supply chains. The collaboratives will be comprised of businesses within an industry sector or cross- industry talent cluster (i.e. information technology, human resources) that share a common workforce need. These businesses will work together to identify their high-demand jobs, and convey with a collective voice the specific skills, certificates and degrees those jobs will require.

A Request for Information (RFI) was released today inviting individual businesses, groups of businesses and industry associations to respond with interest in participation. The opportunity is open to all industries with a highly motivated group of employers and a pressing workforce need. An information session will be held on January 24 to review the response requirements and answer questions about the collaborative process. Responses are due on February 8. The two collaboratives will be selected in late February and will convene for the first time in March.

“This is a new model for Tampa Bay,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “Our research has shown that deep and meaningful employer engagement is the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to solving our regional workforce challenges. We hope to change that dynamic and bring employers to the table in a complementary effort that gives our workforce providers more clarity and focus.”

The Partnership has hired Peg Walton to manage the initiative. As the Executive Director of Tampa Bay Works, Walton will play a critical role in facilitating the employer collaboratives and increasing collaboration between the workforce system and regional employers.

“Peg has more than two decades of experience in workforce and talent development at the regional, state and national level, and she’s a published author of research on scalable, business-led workforce partnerships,” said Homans. “We’re fortunate to have her on board and have no doubt that she’ll help us take our own efforts to a higher level.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. invested $300,000 in the Partnership’s non-profit foundation to advance the effort in Tampa Bay, where it has more than 5,000 employees across all its lines of business. The company has contributed more than $2 million to local workforce initiatives in recent years.

Building a strong and sustainable talent pipeline is critical to creating a competitive economy, yet historically low unemployment, an aging workforce and the rapid digitalization of jobs are contributing to a talent crisis for employers nationwide.

The Tampa Bay region also faces some challenges of its own. Currently, only 30 percent of high school students go on to complete a college degree, and there’s little support to ensure the remaining 70 percent have a clear path, and the necessary training, to enter a high-demand field. There’s also a mismatch between the fields of study students are choosing at area colleges and the demand for those fields. Additionally, the region is home to a sizeable number of workers who are unemployed, underemployed or aren’t participating in the labor force at all.

Fixing these issues will require a high degree of coordination and collaboration between the county-based workforce system and its regional employer base.

The 2018 Regional Competitiveness Report, produced by the Partnership in collaboration with United Way Suncoast and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, identified talent and workforce deficiencies as significant inhibitors of Tampa Bay’s economic competitiveness and prosperity.

To further explore the issue, and work toward addressing those weaknesses, the Partnership’s Council of Governors formed a Regional Talent Working Group, comprised of more than 30 CEOs and senior HR executives from top employers in Tampa Bay. The group was chaired in 2018 by Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, and Troy Taylor, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida; and currently, by Genshaft and Scott Fink, chief executive officer of Fink Automotive Group.

Austin-based TIP Strategies was hired to lead the research and development of the regional workforce strategy for Tampa Bay. Over the course of 2018, the group gathered labor market data, met with more than 70 regional stakeholders and employers, conducted best practice interviews, mapped the talent supply chain and workforce ecosystem, identified gaps in the system, and developed the implementation plan to launch an employer-led, demand-driven workforce initiative in Tampa Bay.