Setting out to ultimately increase workforce participation to meet the needs of employers and ensure continued economic health, the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board (LTWDB) on Oct. 24 convened key stakeholders representing all aspects of the workforce development system and employers that are struggling to meet their workforce needs.
Meeting at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) in Elizabethtown, the group, named the Workforce Crisis Task Force, collaborated on the early steps of multiple projects that may be piloted in the region, shared employer input on support services that could develop a stronger workforce and more.
“We cannot move forward without input from employers and community leaders throughout the region,” said Lisa Boone, chairwoman of the LTWDB committee that is leading the implementation of a strategic plan to increase workforce participation.
In the eight counties of the Lincoln Trail region, between 35 and 45 percent of working age adults are neither employed nor looking for work, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
At the work session, facilitated by the LTWDB’s strategic planning partner, Boston, Mass., based Strategy Matters, participants also discussed the potential of their collective impact.
“We are all working on the same thing, and we need a unified plan so we can work it together,” said ECTC President and LTWDB member Dr. Juston Pate. "We have to start thinking about how we can change the way we do things so we are more aligned.”
Strategy Matters’ Liz O’Connor pointed out that while the Lincoln Trail region’s economic forecast is bright and the region has opportunities in manufacturing, an emerging entrepreneurial community and more, the region is fighting the same workforce shortage as communities across the country.
“Every workforce board in the country is worried about a skilled, available workforce,” O’Connor said. “But we believe the Lincoln Trail region is positioned to create new solutions to national problems.”
Employers and all organizations with a stake in workforce development are invited to join Workforce Crisis Task Force’s efforts. For more information, contact Sherry L. Johnson, Associate Director at Lincoln Trail Area Development District, at 270-769-2393 or email@example.com. To join the task force’s listserv, email firstname.lastname@example.org.