As part of Pennsylvania’s “JOBS 1st” initiative, the economic development, workforce development, and small business development partners of Southeast Pennsylvania cooperatively applied for and implemented a grant to address the major workforce challenges in the region. As part of this grant, Camoin Associates was hired to develop a strategic plan for the newly formed partnership.
The diverse, six-county region included urban, suburban, and rural counties in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Given the diversity of this group, building consensus around the in-demand industries and the primary workforce challenges was a major barrier to more meaningful and effective collaboration amongst the partners. To uncover these common challenges, Camoin Associates reviewed strategic plans, grant applications, and local plans for each of the partners in the region. This review was supplemented with in-depth analysis of economic and workforce related trends in the region, especially as related to the region’s major industry clusters and in-demand occupations. Through this process, 5 high priority regional workforce related challenges were identified.
To discuss these challenges, develop a vision for the group, and identify common goals and strategies that should be pursued, Camoin conducted three facilitated strategic planning sessions and hosted several conference calls with the team. These strategic planning sessions also included presentations and discussions of best practices for regional workforce and economic development collaboration from across the country.
Ultimately, the group identified 7 overall goals and strategies that would be pursued collectively. These strategies ranged from developing a sustained, regional marketing campaign to engaging employers collaboratively and facilitating employer and education connectivity. Each strategy included several specific action items and assigned responsible parties.
To ensure that strategies would be effectively implemented, Camoin hosted a facilitated “implementation meeting” with key members of the group. During this call, each action item in the plan was prioritized and initial steps and responsible parties were identified.
- Economic and workforce data analysis
- High-level inventory of existing programs and initiatives
- Identification of major regional challenges
- Multiple day-long facilitated strategic planning sessions
- Vision development
- Identification of goals and strategies