By Terry Daffin
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Golden Sierra Workforce Tech Forum: Occupations & Skills in an Automated World, hosted by Valley Vision and Golden Sierra Workforce Board.
Valley Vision “…inspires leaders to think big and collaborate on bold, long-term solutions that improve people’s lives and Golden Sierra’s Workforce Board, “…is an industry-led board of directors who identify and solve problems within key economic sectors in the tri-county region (Placer, El Dorado and Alpine).”
As the Project Manager for KAI Partners’ KAIP Academy and the Community Manager for coworking and incubation space The WorkShop – Sacramento, I was especially interested in hearing firsthand what employers are looking for in terms of workforce development for their organization.
There were many great panelists at the forum, including Sean Moss, Senior Estimator and Project Manager for McGuire and Hester; Gordon Rogers, Project Principal of the Owen Group; Annette Smith-Dohring, Workforce Development Manager for Sutter Health; Bernadette Williams, CMI Operations Manager at VSP; and Joseph Taylor, Assistant Professor at CSU Sacramento.
Each panelist was asked to describe what they believe the biggest educational need is for graduating students entering the workforce. Here’s a sampling of what they said:
- Gap in technical skilled labor—employees are either highly skilled/specialized or they have little technical skills
- Up-skilling; providing skills training on the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to an existing workforce
- Critical thinking skills; under-preparedness upon graduation
I left the forum with the question, “What can we do to close these gaps?” As a training provider, it’s clear we need to help industry and education align their efforts so that the workforce can stay updated on new methods, software/programming languages, and other emerging skills.
Here are a few ways to stay on top of digitalization and close the skills gap:
- Industry and education leaders should seek out training programs that will prepare students for critical thinking, data and business analytics, problem solving, and soft skills necessary to enter the workforce and immediately become productive.
- Students should be encouraged to seek out internships in work-based learning opportunities (especially those that provide educational units for their participation).
- Employees should be encouraged to widen their professional development by taking certification courses (especially those that provide professional development units).
There is a lot we can do to close the skills gap and promote workforce development in our region. KAIP Academy is excited to offer training courses and programs for building up a more highly skilled Sacramento.
About the Author: Terry Daffin is an Executive Consultant within KAI Partners. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 30 years and has over 25 years of project management experience. As a public sector consultant in the health care industry, Mr. Daffin assisted in the development and implementation of Project Management Offices that include project management, service management, lean agile and traditional product development lifecycles, and governance processes. He has been an innovation advocate and evangelist for 15 years and has implemented innovative processes for projects that he has been engaged on since 2001. Mr. Daffin currently works as the Project Manager of the KAIP Academy, KAI Partners’ training division and is the Community Manager at KAI Partners’ new coworking space, The WorkShop – Sacramento, focused on connecting innovative start-ups and the public sector.