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Challenges to Effective Public Sector Workforce Development

This post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent Industry Perspective, Modernization of Workforce Development to Deliver Greater Outcomes. Download the full report here.  

To begin, it’s important to affirm the business of workforce development. Simply, it’s a matter of supply and demand. Government agencies work to accommodate the workforce demand of their regional industries by preparing and producing a supply of job-ready workers to sustain their regional economy.

Job creation and matching for job seekers have become top priorities for all. Many agencies contribute to this, with workforce and employment development agencies being the lynchpin hinged with other public partners such as economic development, education, colleges and universities, vocational rehabilitation, corrections, health and human services, training services organizations and more.

It’s a simple formula and goal, but one that’s snarled by an increasingly complicated need for process and content management.

“There are increasing pressures on the workforce development system to assure a healthy workforce pipeline to accommodate employers’ critical hiring needs,” said Art Taguding, National Director, Workforce and Economic Development, State and Local Government, Salesforce. “Securing the right and necessary workforce sustains the life of our businesses and endures our economies. And, it’s no secret that unemployment, job growth, business losses and the overall health of the economy, are visibly prominent in our headlines and social media and have been generally accepted as the litmus test of how well we are doing as a community on the local, state and national levels.”

This makes it more impelling than ever for state and local workforce development stakeholder agencies to feel confident in their business operations and processes. But today, legacy systems and processes are making that harder. “Aging systems and operational workflow processes are hampering government’s ability to be productive and are no longer providing value when it comes to efficiently managing towards job-driven outcomes,” said Taguding.

There are three prevalent challenges limiting workforce development professionals from truly meeting increasing workforce development mission expectations.

First, many workforce development agencies have been limited with too few technology options. 

Either they must choose an off-the-shelf solution that lacks customizability, doesn’t scale efficiently, is not fully mobile or able to adapt to the department’s changing needs, or they invest heavily trying to develop and support an in-house solution, requiring major upfront and ongoing investments in hardware, software, updates and development resources.

Second, data is not effectively managed. 

There are countless methodologies on how data is managed by agencies but as the exploding volume of data has emerged as a significant part of our interventions, aging systems have not been able to nimbly leverage it into a timely responsive smart decision making process.

Finally, the third challenge is coworkers overcoming barriers to professional collaboration. 

Partners and their information are siloed, making it difficult to share data and relevant information between agencies. Agencies must share and report data in aligned efforts to ensure common state and regional workforce goals. How can meaningful data be effectively leveraged to help leaders, individually and collectively, make more insightful, smarter decisions to better serve citizens?

But now, industry forces require a call to action that can no longer be ignored.


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