The Republican: Knowledge Corridor: Educated workers an asset now, but shortage looms
As covered by The Republican, Dan Hodge, director of the Economic and Public Policy Research group at the UMass Donahue Institute, presented a talk outlining the challenges faced by the region known as the Knowledge Corridor, an area extending from Berlin, Connecticut to Greenfield, Massachusetts. With only 45 percent of the region’s population holding a college degree, Hodge’s talk centered on an action plan for addressing the looming skills gap that will impact the rate of growth in the area.
It's a skills gap that is only going to get worse, Hodge said, in a region where the working population is aging, the population is not growing and chronic unemployment plagues the dense urban cores like Springfield, Holyoke and New Britain, Connecticut, where planners seek to foster growth.
"We have too many people in our central cities who either don't work or are not connected to the workforce," Hodge said to a crowd of about 300 business and civic leaders from both states.
Fixing looming work force problem will take an 18-point action plan, he said. It is a plan organized around three main strategies:
• Promoting business and community engagement in work force and talent initiatives.
• Increase the regional investment in talent, workforce and education.
• Create wide-reaching essential soft-skills program on topics like business networking and proper workplace behavior.
Hodge's presentation, available at www.knowledgecorridor.org, was the result of a $90,000 three-year study of the region's work force and talent pool.
June 13, 2014