GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 8

a messsage from our President & CEO continued

engineering expertise and a college degree. Manufacturing won't be of Reading. The second group that can benefit from workforce
the only industry impacted. Healthcare, our second largest industry development programs are those individuals coming out of the
by employment, will also face shortages in critical professional criminal justice system. Studies find that with good employment
areas such as radiological technicians, occupational therapists, support, many go on to become very loyal and dedicated employees.
nutritionists and physician assistants. The third sector we project The last group we can focus on in this category are those people
will be greatly impacted by labor shortages will be construction and of working age with limited English proficiency (LEP). This is
the skilled trades.
probably the largest group of un/under-employed individuals, and
So, what will be the potential impact? Simply put, the economy their training needs include classes that promote better English
as we know it in Berks County will retrench, as companies will stop skills. Once again, blended models of training, coupled with
growing or relocate out of Berks County. Make no mistake, this is English language courses, usually contextualized for a specific job
a potential crisis, and no one strategy will fully address the issue. or industry, is one successful approach that could help get these
Therefore, we at the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) individuals ready for employment.
The second, more long-term strategy is reforming our K-12
educational system. Part of the challenge here is to expose students
to multiple career pathways at an early age, especially in those
like manufacturing and construction, that have been
To be clear, traditional economic development focuses on
shunned in favor of four-year college. The good news
business attraction, expansion, and job growth as its primary goals.
For decades, organizations like the Greater Reading Economic here is that our local Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU), led
Partnership and the Greater Berks Development Fund, two GRCA by Dr. Jill Hackman, recently launched a comprehensive career
affiliates, have successfully grown our local economy through pathways model that has been adopted by all eighteen school
business attraction and expansion activities. Talent attraction and districts in Berks County. This new framework utilizes several
retention, however, requires a reframing of strategies to focus on a innovative approaches, and, notably, it's the first model that provides
range of activities that help develop a pipeline of skilled workers to age-appropriate career exploration starting in elementary school.
support current and future labor market needs. In Berks County, we The framework itself concentrates on five different pathways: Arts
believe there are three key strategies that our community will need & Communication, Business Finance & Information Technology,
Engineering & Industrial Technology, Human Services, and Science
to focus on to head off the crisis in labor supply.
& Health. Another unique feature includes incorporating financial
Short-term workforce development focusing on unskilled and literacy and critical thinking skills as a standardized part of each
semi-skilled workers is the first strategy in a comprehensive approach. grade's curriculum. We at the GRCA are very excited to be part of
Our very capable Berks County Workforce Development Board the implementation of this new framework, and our role will be
(WDB), led by Dan Fogarty, takes the lead on this strategy that to rally the business community to get involved with curriculum
involves managing federal job training funds. (Note: I serve as an design and various implementation elements. Mentoring, job
appointed member of the Workforce Board.) While unemployment shadowing, career presentations and internships are some examples
rates in Berks currently stand at historic lows, there are three of how business professionals can play an active role in career
identified groups that can benefit from such training. Disconnected pathways. Make no mistake: the K-12 career pathways strategy is a
youth are those young adults age 17-24 that are not working and long-term strategy; however, Berks County has the right model, and
are not currently in school. Most disconnected youth have not we are very optimistic about its implementation.
completed high school, so any vocational training would also need
The third strategy is one that focuses on talent retention and talent
to include GED classes. A recent study by the WDB estimates that
This is likely to be the most complicated of strategies,
there are close to 5,000 youth that can be considered disconnected
multitude of stakeholders. It will also likely require some
throughout Berks County, about half of which live in the city
Photograph by Andrew Price.

are looking at a comprehensive approach to address this challenge,
an approach that will fundamentally change the way we approach
economic development.




Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018

GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 1
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 2
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 3
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 4
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 5
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 6
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 7
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 8
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 9
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 10
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 11
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 12
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 13
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 14
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 15
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 16
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 17
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 18
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 19
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 20
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 21
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 22
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 23
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 24
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 25
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 26
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 27
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 28
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 29
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 30
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 31
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 32
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 33
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 34
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 35
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 36
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 37
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 38
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 39
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 40
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 41
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 42
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 43
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 44
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 45
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 46
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 47
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 48
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 49
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 50
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 51
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 52
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 53
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 54
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 55
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 56
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 57
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 58
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 59
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 60
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 61
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 62
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 63
GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018 - 64