” is the name of a study commissioned by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development to gauge how the changing nature of employment and aging demographics will affect the 10-county western Pennsylvania region. It projects that the Pittsburgh region’s workforce is on track to have a shortfall of 80,000 workers by 2025
Several Junior Achievement stakeholders participated in the demand analysis aspect of the report, which found that each year 29,000 of the region’s workers are retiring, and employers are adding roughly 5,000 jobs. Because only about 26,000 high school graduates come into the workforce annually, the region will lose 8,000 workers each year for the next decade.
However, the number of students in the K-12 system is declining. There are 336,227 students enrolled in public schools in more than 500 high schools in the Pittsburgh region’s 125 school districts. This projects to declining numbers of local graduates, from 27,359 annually to 24,779 by 2025.
The study also found that occupational skill demands in the workforce are changing rapidly
and are dramatically different from those of the past. This has important implications at both ends of the pipeline:
1.) There is a need to develop new strategies to manage knowledge transfer and retain skilled workers.
2.) There is a need to ensure those new to employment are adequately prepared.
Education and training providers at every level must be able to adjust, and workers will need to be able to rapidly adapt to the changing realities of workforce demand. Employers must work to establish and communicate new expectations and roles.
Junior Achievement staff and its volunteers work tirelessly every year to make sure this happens!
Volunteers from the world of business are the heart and soul of JA programs. Thousands of dedicated business and community volunteers routinely teach JA’s robust K-12 business curriculum to tens of thousands of area students. Several additional community members help raise funds to ensure that JA can continue to offer high-quality programs to schools. At a time when teachers are continually asked to do more with less, JA offers educators the opportunity to add the fourth “R” to Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic – Relevance. JA’s classroom volunteers serve as role models, working to encourage and inspire the next generation of workers, leaders and entrepreneurs.
These programs build a bridge to connect larger regional employers and the start-up and innovation economy, focusing on several occupational and industrial clusters. To help combat this foreseen problem and fill the employment gap, volunteers in Junior Achievement’s communication committee wrote and produced a six-minute video taken from the major points of the study to be shown in all JA classrooms.
The video highlights the careers in our region and why young people should make Pittsburgh their home. Join Max and Alex as they explore several of the high growth, high demand careers and industries cited in the Inflection Point study, including information technology; business and finance; engineering, science and production; healthcare; construction; energy; retail and hospitality. Students explore how to use life experiences to develop work skills and how to map a path to employment goals. “Your Bridge to Opportunity” is described by Junior Achievement as that “students will be able to identify work skills already developed from experiences and activities and plan significant markers they need to reach to earn a particular job.”
By: Kevin Lane, APR, CBC’S, Public Relations and Marketing Consulting