For the first time in over 20 years, the number of job openings equals the number of unemployed. As of March 2018, there were 6.5 million open jobs and 6.59 million unemployed! As of May 2018, the unemployment rate was 3.8%. This is considered a full employment market.
In economic terms, full employment is defined as the point at which all available workers have jobs. The remaining are out of work for what economists like to call "frictional" reasons, or because they're between jobs or have only recently entered the labor market.
So where are all the job openings? The biggest gains in March were in construction, where openings soared by roughly one-third to 248,000. Job listings also jumped in education, professional services like accounting, retail, and hospitality, and also shipping and warehousing. How are these job demands being met?
What does this mean for Local Workforce Development Boards, American Job Centers, Training Providers, Economic Development and Educational Providers? It means we must engage employers differently! It means we must also engage educational providers and deliver services differently to meet the needs of this evolving industry.
Local areas need to ensure that employment and training programs are job-driven so that employers and jobseekers know what to expect when they participate in training programs. The following services see the highest success rate:
- Engaging Employers - listening to employers, working up front with them to determine local hiring needs and designing new training programs that are responsive to those needs.
- EARN and Learn - Offer work-based learning opportunities that provide the needed trainings, such as: On-the-Job Training, internships, pre-apprenticeships and registered apprenticeships that lead to career pathways and employment opportunities.
- Smart Choices - Make better use of data to drive accountability, describe what programs are offered and what is taught, and offer user-friendly information for jobseekers to choose programs and pathways that work for them.
- Stepping Stones - Promote a seamless progression form one educational stepping stone to another, and across work-based training and education, so that efforts result in progress.
- Regional Partnerships – Coordinate activities between American Job Centers, local employers, education and training providers, economic development agencies and other public and private entities, while leveraging limited resources.
- Opening Doors - Break down barriers to accessing job-driven training and hiring for any American who is willing to work, including facilitating access to supportive services and providing relevant guidance.
EDSI understands WIOA and the challenges that can occur while trying to engage employers. We have been at the forefront of aligning service integration. We’re experienced in collaborating with states, community-based organizations, education, business and economic development organizations, as well as building industry partnerships, which provides a strong foundation for implementation of WIOA.
Is your LWDB ready to implement new services and review existing policies that may be limiting your region to serve the needs of employers in this economy? What steps have you taken to prepare your Board? What steps have you taken to ensure that your One-Stop-Centers are ready to serve employers and jobseekers? Do you need assistance? We are here to help you.