Editorial

2025 goal: Educated and trained workforce

December 12, 2014
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As winter graduates cross public stages this month, Talent 2025 released its most comprehensive report on current and future needs of employers in the 13-county West Michigan region, providing a map from that public stage to careers and jobs. The report aligns with current economic projections for hiring and job growth, underscoring positive trends noted in the Business Journal’s Local Economy column this week. The continuance and success of those trends is dependent upon an educated and trained workforce able to apply their study to work place realities.

The CEO-led effort has been no small commitment in the investment of future profit. The report is thorough not just for its evaluations of current and projected future job needs, but in the skills that must be demonstrated by those graduates — and most especially the learning provided by those responsible for student objectives. The report is truly comprehensive, too, for the involvement of school and university professionals, job placement experts, and local and state economic development leaders.

The report found occupational job growth in the next five years is expected to be 10.1 percent, ahead of the overall projected state growth of 8.5 percent. The region is expected to account for one in six new jobs for the state, with at least 61,400 opportunities created in the region.

Business leaders say those jobs are primarily within five industries. Manufacturing, health care and social assistance, retail trade, waste management and remediation services, and hospital and food services jobs account for 60 percent of total payroll jobs to be needed in the region by 2025.

Over the next 10 years, health care support is expected to experience the fastest growth at 24 percent; architecture and engineering is expected to increase by 13 percent. Health care practitioners and technical positions are expected to see 12,260 openings; construction and extraction employees anticipate 12,790 openings.

As Angie Barksdale, deputy director at Ottawa County Michigan Works finds, the variety of occupations and skill sets are strengths in West Michigan. “We have the adaptability to be resilient over different things as you look at those occupations, everything from manufacturing to health care to construction and a variety of areas.”

The Talent 2025 report offers additional information valuable to business owners with analysis in related topics: population, demographics, commuting, migration patterns, labor force and employment trends, and distribution of current industry occupations.

The Talent 2025 effort and investment has been well spent in the provision of the report.

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