By: Melissa Canu, Senior Associate & Alix Naugler, Research Scientist

Melissa Canu is a Senior Associate at ICF where she works on strategic communications and technical assistance projects related to anti-poverty programming, workforce development, human trafficking, and adolescent health.
Alix Naugler is a Research Scientist at ICF where she performs theoretical and experimental social scientific investigation and produces advanced statistical analyses related to family self-sufficiency, child welfare, labor economics, and workforce development.

 

The views expressed In Focus are exclusively those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect official positions of their employers or clients. References to materials or services in the public domain do not imply endorsement from those entities.

 


 

Workforce development programs simultaneously support jobseekers in gaining employment as well as meet the labor demands of employers. This programming can benefit from leveraging labor market information (LMI) in the planning, development, and implementation of these efforts. Available from numerous public and private agencies, LMI is versatile, and can be used to build education and training pipelines as well as to help identify industries or occupations forecasted to experience growth or decline at the local, regional, state, or national level.

Incorporating LMI into program strategy helps to clarify which types of training and education should be provided to maximize the likelihood of sustainable employment. Analyzing historical, current, or future workforce demand trends can help prioritize training and certification classes required for the jobs that will be available in the region. For example, researchers at ICF recently identified that in the Greater Los Angeles (LA) Region, truck drivers in the construction industry will experience relatively high job growth with a six percent increase in jobs by 2020 and a 14% increase by 2027. With this information, LA-based workforce development programs can:

  • Tailor recruitment efforts and allocate resources to prepare jobseekers for this type of work.
  • Hire additional staff to prepare prospective drivers for the occupation’s specialized testing and licensing requirements.

As science and innovation continue to usher in new technologies, such advances may automate tasks previously managed by employees, thereby redefining roles. LMI can help programs evolve alongside innovation by identifying occupations that may decline in demand or are forecasted to grow in tandem with these advances (perhaps related to system operations or maintenance of new technologies).

Additionally, using LMI can provide workforce demographic trends by gender, race, or age within specific occupations and regions. This data can help programs better understand the local employed population and help employers identify opportunities to diversify their workforce.

For example, perhaps an employer would like to increase female participation in a specific industry. LMI can be used to identify:

  • Occupations that are expected to experience growth and that have a relatively large/small percent of female participation. Doing so highlights opportunities to increase female participation in new occupations or expand female participation in occupations that already have high female employment.
  • Occupations with a relatively large percent of female participation but are projected to decline in workforce demand. This knowledge prevents programs from investing time and resources in education and training for occupations forecasted to become obsolete.

Equipped with this data, workforce development programs can adapt their strategies to ensure jobseekers are employable in high-demand jobs. Altogether, LMI encourages efficiency, effectiveness, and forward-thinking decision-making when developing programming and allocating resources.

For more information on using LMI in workforce development, the Office of Family Assistance’s PeerTA Network offers the following in their Resource Library: