Longview Chamber of Commerce Works to Bridge The Talent Gap

To solve regional talent gap issues, ways must be found to educate and upskill local adults. To this end, the Longview Chamber of Commerce has been selected to participate in The Graduate! Network's "Bridging The Talent Gap," an employer and employee engagement initiative supported with funding from the Trellis Foundation. Longview joins five other Texas communities who are also participating - Austin, Corpus Christi, Ft. Worth, Irving, and San Antonio. Employers will share the challenges they face in finding employees with the right skills and education for current and future positions in our region. Workers who are ready for upskilling and degree completion opportunities will be identified and connected with local education and training providers. 

The Graduate! Network's goal, with its community partners, is to create a sense of urgency, excitement and action around developing a pipeline of newly up-skilled adults, to understand employers' concerns and goals, and to showcase future career pathways where adults can be competitive prospects. The project, "Bridging The Talent Gap," has collected data from 3,000 employers and more than 2,500 employees across the country. This data has been designed to reflect five "landscapes" - employers, employees, skills, learning, and hiring. Participants include current and future employees, learning providers, economic and workforce development agencies, policy makers, and business community representatives with some emphasis on sectors where many adults with some college but no degree are currently employed.

Reports drawing on national job data and The Graduate! Network's "Bridging The Talent Gap" survey data underline the need across many sectors for job seekers with skills beyond high school. From the job seeker's perspective, careers that require technical competency are particularly rewarding financially and for longer term employment and career security.

Behind this narrative are complex intertwined stories of economic growth based on younger "digital native" populations who are just entering the job market and are lacking experience in the so-called "soft" skills; 37 million adults with some college but no degree who are presently barred from full participation in this growth economy for want of a degree and/or a valued "hard" skillset; and a skill and knowledge mismatch between postsecondary educational institutions and employers facing a tight labor market.

The Trellis Foundation supports the innovation and growth of ideas and strategies that positively influence postsecondary attainment and affordability. For more information about The Trellis Foundation, please visit www.trellisfoundation.org

The mission of The Graduate! Network is to increase the number of adults completing college by engaging business, postsecondary education, government, organized labor, workforce and economic development, community building organizations, social service providers, and Comebackers (returning adult students) to align existing resources, remove barriers, and create new pathways for adults to complete a postsecondary credential.  For more information about The Graduate! Network, please visit www.Graduate-Network.org.  For more information about Bridging The Talent Gap, please visit www.BridgingTheTalentGap.org.

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