Conducting community and labor market assessments are two of the most important components to building an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. A program can potentially do a huge disservice to students if the proper analysis isn’t performed addressing community and employer needs. Understanding the target community and assessing employer needs should be the first steps in EWDJT program development.
Community and labor market assessments are usually local endeavors and are essential to:
Without assessments, an EWDJT program may fail due to a lack of availability of local jobs for program graduates or lack of community interest. There are several questions to consider.
Community and labor market assessments may include general assessments from state or local government statistics, detailed surveys of local employers and neighborhoods, and specific one-on-one interviews with company employees and community residents.
Extensive assessments are difficult and take time and patience. But if done correctly, they could provide:
In addition to providing information during program start-up, community and labor market assessments that are performed on a regular basis are also valuable for existing programs. If placement rates begin to drop, employers’ needs begin to shift, or community interest begins to dwindle, periodic assessments help align program, industry, and community needs.
Community and labor market assessments can be much more than simple information-gathering efforts. When done properly, they form a solid base upon which to direct and implement the entire EWDJT program.