Sustainable Employment Takes a Systemic Approach
A successful workforce development system requires a strong systemic approach that cohesively brings together industry, education, social services, talent development, and government in an integrated way. In our first 24 months, WSM has built a strong organizational structure including knowledgeable staff and board, key partners, strong career pathway programs, active job centers, and diverse resources. While continuing all these activities, a critical future focus is facilitating enhancements to Montgomery County’s workforce system.
The enhanced workforce system must be a strategic and integrated process driven by critical partnerships with a shared vision. To be successful, the system requires collaborative actions from all identified partners rather than the current delegation and cooperation of supports and services implemented through separate missions and visions. Further, the shared vision and programmatic collaborations must be fueled by the partnerships’ collective functions rather than constricted and defined by funding sources.
The most promising approaches in workforce development require the coordination of public and private-sector policies and programs that provide individuals the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood and supports employers’ goal achievement that is consistent with the societal context.
- Societal context is future economic stability and growth
- Employer goal achievement depends on relevant talent development to stay globally competitive.
- Individual livelihood centers on employability within sustainable career pathways
Therefore, an enhanced Montgomery County workforce development system involves both economic development and social service strategies, requiring inclusive and intensive stakeholder engagement.
A strong workforce system ensures that the business community/employers share real time talent demands including the skills and dispositions to be successful within the current occupations as well as the anticipated occupations of the future. This must be coupled with a government supported job-market analysis that identifies Montgomery County’s distinctive attributes, supply and demand dynamics, and the current state of the workforce to better retain and attract additional industry sectors. Utilizing these metrics, we will be able to provide the business community with the right talent so that all sectors can maintain a high level of economic competitiveness and growth.
Equally as important is the agreement and consistent definition of what it takes for an individual to be job-ready by mitigating barriers to employment in order to ensure a sustainable quality of life, especially for those who are currently income insecure. To achieve sustainable employment for our job-seekers, the criteria of employability must be collaboratively developed with the employer. Montgomery County is blessed to have progressive and comprehensive programs through Health and Human Services (HHS), our educational organizations, and our non-profit community. However, a strong assessment of the current resources to determine organizational capacity, duplication of effort, and identify program shortages is needed. Understanding the relevant data and the coordination needed will result in supportive services becoming even more efficient and effective.
Striking the right balance of connectivity of these traditionally siloed focuses is key. Understanding and responding to organizational employment needs while also integrating programs that centers on ensuring that our residents are job-ready creates the workforce system that will strengthen our economy and society. This will take time and changes in paradigms but I believe Montgomery County is ready to execute an enhanced systemic approach.
WSM looks forward to working together to collaboratively facilitate a much-needed integrated and strategic approach. As always, your input and involvement is valued.
Dr. Ellie Giles, CEO