JA19 web - Page 39



by
Amy Lancaster-King
ur economy is booming. Nearly 60,000 new
jobs were created and over 550,000 employment opportunities were posted in 2018.
This exceptional growth means that employers in the metro Atlanta region and across the
country will continue to focus on workforce development.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) and YouScience
recently unveiled the Talent Pipeline Report which reveals
opportunities to boost metro Atlanta students’ entry into
high-demand careers and grow the region’s large, diverse
workforce. YouScience is an aptitude-driven talent identication platform that uncovers and connects talent and opportunity. The report, developed from YouScience data and replicable across the state, nds that metro Atlanta may have skill
gaps in some industries, but the region does not have a talent
gap. The talent simply needs exposure to a cross section of
the in-demand jobs.
Talent pipeline experts at MAC analyzed the assessments
of more than 21,000 students from 95 high schools in the
region’s ve core counties of Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton
and Gwinnett counties using YouScience data. The resulting
Talent Pipeline Report provides insight into students’ aptitude
and interest in the region’s top industries: manufacturing,
construction, information technology, healthcare and distribution & logistics.
Many students in the region have an aptitude for highdemand jobs in the region’s top industries but haven’t
expressed any interest in that particular eld. In other words,
there is an “exposure gap” in which students do not know
enough about an industry, specic careers or their potential
talent. Another nding of the report establishes that metro
Atlanta has a fantastic opportunity to have a larger, more
diverse workforce in these high-demand areas. For example,
far more female students demonstrated a high aptitude for
these high-demand careers than expressed a self-reported
interest. Understanding student interests provides some
insight into what the future workforce might look like.
One of the best ways to close this interest-aptitude gap is
to bring business and education together by introducing students to the workplace through experiential learning opportunities. There is an opportunity for every school and employer
regardless of size or capacity. This type of exposure at the
high school level allows students to apply what they’ve
learned in the classroom in a real work environment while
learning how to hold down a job. This approach builds a student’s work readiness for any occupation and, more importantly, it exposes students to what occupations and skills
employers need most.
Atlanta’s long-term economic success requires fully
developing the skills of all the region’s students. The rst step
involves engaging the students with both the aptitude and
the interest in high-demand elds and providing them with
quality experiential learning experiences. The second priority
focuses on growing interest with students who have high
aptitudes in high-demand areas. Lastly, growing the aptitude
of students who have an interest in high demand areas cannot be overlooked.
MAC will use this Talent Pipeline Report to develop and
advocate for policies and practices that will support a thriving,
globally competitive workforce for many years into the future.
Any successful plan for increasing Atlanta’s workforce supply
must address education inequities; therefore, these career
awareness and engagement strategies require an inclusive
approach by business and education to maximize the potential of Atlanta’s richly diverse future workforce.
Leveraging the Talent Pipeline Report and improving connections between the business and education communities
will help ensure metro Atlanta is primed for long-term
growth and prosperity.
Amy Lancaster-King is Director of Workforce Development at the Metro Atlanta
Chamber. To read the full report, visit macpolicy.com or email Amy LancasterKing at alancaster.com.
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
39

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