Lone Star College System issued a General Findings Report based on a recent Workforce Development Consortium Strategy Forum that addressed how businesses and colleges can best prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
The HR Policy Association Workforce Development Roundtable and the Community College Workforce Consortium teamed up with senior human resource leaders from the energy, manufacturing, and information technology industries to discuss the skills needed to address current and future workforce needs.
“The ultimate goal of this strategy forum is to understand the emerging skill needs of large employers to identify education and training solutions,” said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. “We want to ensure solutions are aligned with industry-recognized standards and build capacity to meet industry needs today and in the near future.”
As a result of the forum, several action items for going forward were identified including:
- Continued engagement between employers and community colleges.
- Identifying the top-needed positions requiring less than a bachelor’s degree.
- Develop national programs of study curriculum.
- Design labs/classrooms needed and identify additional resources.
- Find new ways to coach students to prepare for the job search, utilizing programs such as Jobapedia.org, Burning Glass, DOL and others as resources for students completing programs.
Featured speakers included Dr. Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group, who pointed out that corporations now spend more money on education than the public sector, and Alan May, vice president of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes human resources organization who discussed the importance of a skilled workforce to remain competitive in a global economy.
Jaimie Fall, vice president workforce and talent development policy for the Association of Chief Human Resources tweeted “Incredible job by Alan May #Boeing discussing the importance of a skilled workforce #AligningDemand”.
Executive leaders from businesses such as National Oilwell Varco, Boeing Corp., FMC Technologies, Baker Hughes, IBM, Shell Oil, Houston Airport System, GE Oil and Gas, as well as the National Association of Manufacturers and the International Association of Drilling Contractors discussed their workforce needs with more than 20 community college teams led by chancellors and presidents whose communities have employed a significant number of workers in these sectors.
“Lone Star College meets frequently with companies that have manufacturing and industry operations worldwide to stay in sync with employer needs,” said Linda Head, LSC associate vice chancellor of workforce education and corporate partnerships. “We hosted this forum to bring together our community college colleagues with industry leaders to learn more and exchange ideas. Corporate leaders are telling educators that they can update their curriculum more often, ensure that students have basic math skills and model personal attributes of returning military veterans.
“Manufacturing and industry companies also need our help in getting parents and students to understand that they have cool, well-paying jobs that start at around $50,000 a year with an associate degree or certification,” Head said. “Not all career paths require a four-year degree and we are working to make sure that current and future students are aware of all options as they enter the workforce or decide to train for a new career.”
The conference took place at LSC-University Park. Nelda Blair, a locally and nationally recognized thought leader in workforce development, facilitated and moderated the various panel discussions.
Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online.