the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy
1, Number 1
submit articles and news items to Barbara
Bolin for inclusion in future newsletters and on the CRCC web
2007 Midwest WorkKeys™ Conference
in Springfield was a GREAT success! Congratulations to our colleagues
in Missouri who worked hard to plan and host what has become a significant
event. Attendance was at 130, and these folks came from 13 states
stretching from Massachusetts to Oregon. Presentations from the conference
are posted at
the conclusion of the conference, Susan Kuzmic announced that the
next Midwest WorkKeys™ conference will be hosted by the Oklahoma
Department of Commerce in partnership with the Oklahoma Chamber of
Commerce. The only details available so far are that the conference
will be at the end of October 2008 in Oklahoma
City. It is very exciting to see
these sorts of partnerships developing and to see other states volunteering
it time for a northwest state to think about hosting an event?
hosted a statewide WorkKeys Conference in Michigan November 5-6th.
Southeastern WorkKeys conference
is scheduled for January 23-25 in Chattanooga, TN. The event
will be held at the Marriott at the Convention Center. This is always
a great conference too so plan to join us and learn the latest on
WorkKeys and the CRC.
ACTE Convention will
be held at the Las Vegas Hilton, December 13-16, 2007.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
seems that there are major changes for IT workers in the US market
The IT market is hot once again but the in-demand skills keep shifting.
According to Information Week (October 22, 2007), two reports
demonstrate that this shift is away from certification of technical
skills. Research from Foote Partners shows that, in the years after
the dot-com bust, employers “put more emphasis on certified
tech skills as they looked to rein in excesses of the boom and better
justify tech salaries”. This latest report asserts however that
employers are now paying higher premiums for noncertified technical
skills in areas such as enterprise applications, e-commerce, and process
management. Foote Partners conducts in-depth quarterly surveys of
the last two years, many companies have started looking to IT for
assistance in the development of new products, to boost profit and
sales, and to improve customer service and relationships. This makes
sense because IT is buried in every facet of an organization and
in every line of business.
tech skills are averaging 8.08% above base pay, while certified
skills average a premium of 7.97%. While these numbers look close,
in real money terms, the difference is huge. This is bound to be
frustrating for tech professionals who have invested a great deal
in getting certifications in order to get or guarantee their employment.
news must be considered alongside a second report from the BLS that
shows a drop in the unemployment rate from 2.2% in 2006 to 2% in
the tech industry. In 2003, the rate was 5.6%. The biggest job growth
categories are: software engineers, computer scientists, systems
analysts, and IS managers. Two categories shrank: programmers by
5%, and support specialists fell 4%.
other reports that should be considered alongside one another . .
BLS recently released details of the number of older Americans who
are still working after the age of 55. The percentage (in 2006)
has now reached 38% and this represents an increase of 8% over the
last 20 years. The biggest increase showed in the 65-69 age group
which now stands at 52.5%, an increase of about 10% since 1986.
there's news of an age-discrimination suit brought by a 52 year
old executive against the Altria Group (previously known as Philip
Morris Companies). The suit alleges that (among other things) senior
management referrred to older workers as "blockers"!!
things seem significant here. Since when has 52 been considered
to be old, and what are companies like Altria going to do when they
have to rely heavily on these "blockers" in the near future
when multiple generations are needed to keep their workforce at
needed levels? Clearly, this is (or should be!) a time of enlightenment
for many companies in the US.
Consultancy Services (TCS) is India’s largest IT services provider.
You can learn more about this company in The Elephant and the
Dragon by Robyn Shephard (see review later in this newsletter).
In the latest report from TCS, it is reported that application development
and maintenance now make up less than half its revenue. This is because
TCS has been moving up the value chain, and now provides consulting
and IT infrastructure services that involve higher degrees of experience,
trust, and communication (Information Week, October 22, 2007).
Preston highlights a new cultural gap that is widening in the IT industry.
In Beyond Talent Shortage Lies a Cultural Divide (Information
Week, October 22, 2007), Rob maintains that employers and employees
in the profession have widely disparate views of the future of the
Executives maintain that there is a tech talent shortage in the US,
and that this will worsen as Baby Boomers retire. Disgruntled employees
produce anecdotal evidence of their own that points to an oversupply
of tech labor and dwindling job prospects. These employees claim that
they have been “commoditized” by the industry, and that
hiring managers are often blinded by appearance and stereotypes.
Clearly, there is a need for a conversation between the two sides
FROM THE CRC CONSORTIUM
- I am
happy to report that North Dakota is pressing ahead with plans for
the CRC. ND is our 45th. state. At the moment they are in the third
("interested") column of the matrix but we are delighted
that their enthusiasm is high.
is exciting to witness the extraordinary growth in the "Numbers
Issued" matrix (see below). These numbers are kept up to date
on the CRC web site but they are only as good as the data we receive.
Please be sure to pass your state's numbers on to Barbara
Bolin on a monthly basis.
- I think
that there is a "competition" brewing between a few of the
states in terms of who can issue the most CRCs and who is at the top
of the list! Healthy competition is a good thing and, more importantly,
we should always remember the significant number of people we are
helping. The NOCC's best estimate of CRCs issued is in excess of 105,000!
offer our congratulations to Rod Nunn of Missouri as he moves into
a new position. Governor Matt Blunt has appointed Rod as Director
of Education and Workforce Innovation, effective October
15, 2007. Governor Blunt charged Rod with leading Missouri’s
P-20 Council to align the entire education and workforce continuum
with the state’s business and industry needs for skilled workers
who are globally competitive. Governor Blunt's charge to Rod meshes
well with some of the work undertaken over the past few years in
Rod's work in the public workforce system. During Rod’s time
as Director of the Division of Workforce Development, he led Missouri’s
system in a transformation that improved its relevance and value
in today’s economy. Under Rod's leadership, Missouri became
one of the leading states in the CRC Consortium, and under his leadership,
we look forward to other great innovations in Missouri in the future.
are still anxious about the poor quality of potential and incumbent
employees in terms of their "soft skills", and this issue
will only increase as the Millenial generation moves into the workplace.
Young people demonstrate a lack of training and competence in this
area, and this causes friction and aggravation as the generations
mix in many workplaces. For customers too, it is proving to be a
problem. News on two possible assessment tools and associated training
comes from ACT and Alchemy.
quote from an article by Rod Nunn in the May 2007 WORKFORCE
WEEKLY newsletter from the Missouri Dept. of Economic Development,
the Alchemy SISTEM™ is
a virtual training medium that "provides competency-based training
for workforce system staff and customers in a consistent and uniform
15-20 minute modules, an on-screen trainer delivers content and
then asks questions to assess the understanding of the participants.
In a fun departure from the traditional, trainees use remote control
devices with color-coded buttons to log their answers interactively.
Remedial learning is imbedded in each module if it is determined
that trainees do not understand the core competencies of the training.
Tiers of training focus on skills from general foundational skills
to occupationally specific competencies. Tier 1 trains in Personal
Effectiveness Competencies; Tier 2 deals with Academic Competencies
and Tier 3 with Workplace Competencies, those skills that allow
individuals to function adequately in an organizational setting.
Alchemy is being used successfully in several career centers and
in other locations in MO and in other states, it is important to
understand that this is NOT a certification process but rather an
engaging way of exposing and training individuals in necessary skills.
more information, please visit www.SISTEMTraining.com
and/or contact Ron Jones (RonJ@Review.com).
has added three new personal skills assessments:Talent, Fit, and
Performance, to measure personality factors in terms of job behavior,
performance, and productivity. As you might imagine, Talent measures
key personal traits linked to job success; Fit measures work-related
interests and values aligned to job fit; Performance measures work
attitudes and the potential for unsafe behavior on the job. For
more information on these new assessments, visit www.act.org
you are interested in the global economies, and if you have already
read The World Is Flat by Thomas Freidman, I recommend
the following two books.
Emerging Markets Century: How a New Breed of World-Class Companies
is Taking Over the World by
Antoine van Agtmael is a natural successor to Friedman's best seller.
It is not as readable but it contains a wealth of information pertinent
to our certification efforts. Agtmael lays to rest several myths
about India and China and the poor outlook for US companies that
we hear a lot about in the media. He is able to explain the true
global nature of economies, and how the emerging markets--many of
which you may be new to you--will affect our future.
The Elephant and The Dragon: The
Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us,
Robyn Meredith compares these two economic giants and their roles
on the world stage. She points out where the strengths and weaknesses
are in both economies, and her words should bring some comfort to
the employers you deal with every day. Her information dispels many
myths and clarifies anecdotal sound bites that are used in the media,
and that are causing concern about the future of the US economy.
Ms. Meredith sheds light on some little-known truths about these
two emerging economies and the positive opportunities that are emerging
for US businesses.
if you are interested in learning more about the true China, I recommend
China Road by Rob Gifford, a former NPR
reporter who lived in China for many years. Prior to leaving his
China posting with NPR and returning to London, Rob made a personal
pilgrimage across the country, following the old Silk Road. His
insightful narrative of that journey and his many adventures reveal
truths about the status of urban and rural Chinese and the effects
of the booming economy on their lives. The news is not all good,
and there are signs of significant problems on the Chinese horizon.
announced a new FREE resource for educators. Please pass this information
on to your colleagues in the education sector. It will also be useful
to WIB members, economic developers and workforce development professionals
as they seek to learn more about best practices in education in
the creation of a seamless career development system.
The publisher of Education Week has launched an exclusive new
resource guide on teacher professional development to help you
maintain your commitment to excellence in education. The inaugural
issue of the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook, focusing
on the expanding role of teacher collaborative work, is available
We hope you find this FREE resource to be a valuable tool in
guiding staff development and your own professional growth. The
exclusive, interactive directory is fully searchable, with links
to more than 200 products, services, or organizations you may
be interested in. You will want to save this site as a favorite
so you can refer to it frequently. Some of the most popular categories
of professional development being searched are English/Reading,
Mathematics, Special Education and Assessment/Testing –
and many more are available! Check the category you are interested
You will find this totally free guide to ideas and resources
to be helpful in planning your approach to professional development.
There are many practical features you won't want to miss, including:
Best practices and advice on creating and maintaining professional
Research on what works in professional development
Data snapshots of current practices and state requirements in
teacher professional development
If you like what you see online, you may also be interested in
receiving future issues of Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook
in print. See if you qualify for a FREE subscription by clicking
Or you can order this issue in print for $29, to keep as a desk
reference. You can place your order online, or call 1-800-788-5692.
Enjoy all that this valuable, free online resource has to offer
– articles, research and complete directory – and
forward this e-mail to a colleague who may be able to use it.
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Forwarding it to unauthorized recipients is a violation of intent.
NOCC™ is a non-profit, publicly-supported organization.
Barbara Bolin, Ph.D.
May Street, Lansing, MI 48906
NOCC, November 2007