The Need for Regional Workforce Development

Loveland continues to be a sought-after place for locating a business. That is, in part, due to the rise in employment rates and the diverse economic landscape. While we continue to experience job growth and business expansion, some startling facts support a great need for businesses to invest in regional workforce development.

According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the number of Loveland jobs has increased by more than 2,000 (or 3.3 percent) within the past two years. This, combined with Loveland’s high access to a labor shed for a high-quality workforce presents a diverse and stable economy that serves as a hub for innovation.

Many of Loveland’s new job opportunities are coming from the growth of small businesses. As the backbone of our community, small businesses have continued to develop and grow year after year, showing a positive picture of our overall workforce.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, workers from ages 45 to 54 increased by 30 percent. Experts also predict that by 2020, an expected 20 percent of the U.S. population will be age 65 and up, while workers age 18 to 24 are expected to make up 42 percent of the population. This will cause a shift in our workforce as a bulk of our workers enter retirement and we see an increasing number of younger, millennial workers who will need the skills to meet the needs of our businesses.

Loveland as a whole is working diligently to support workforce readiness and empower businesses to work with us to ensure that their needs are met. We are working to increase the practical training and development of our workforce in order to mold a skilled generation of workers for the coming years. In order to do so, we need to define our current labor market and anticipate our labor needs for the foreseeable future. Between current and future labor markets is a gap, and we need to work together to create programs and strategies to narrow that gap.

Within Larimer County, several industries draw the largest amount of workers. These include health care, education, restaurants, hospitality and local government. The chamber is in discussions with our small businesses daily, and we continue to learn about new opportunities and skills that these businesses need from their employees. In everything from technical skills to customer service, there are opportunities to train our younger workforce and our students to have the skills necessary to support the success of our businesses and Loveland’s overall business growth.

If we don’t act now to support our economy and our businesses through workforce readiness, we risk falling behind. I urge Loveland and Northern Colorado businesses to join us and support our workforce readiness efforts for a vibrant economy. I also encourage job seekers to pursue education and training that is needed to make a difference for our businesses today. A well-trained workforce, combined with effective infrastructure for providing training programs, can give our community a distinct competitive advantage.

Mindy McCloughan, Loveland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO

*Some portions of article originally published in BizWest and Mindy’s Loveland Chamber of Commerce blog; re-purposed with permission.

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