Career Ladder Blueprint
Eastern CT's job growth has provided an explosion of new entry-level workers in our labor market. As the region prepares to replace the skills-loss attached to upcoming Baby Boomer retirements, it's critical that we have a plan for preparing low-skilled workers. EWIB delivered the Career Ladder Blueprint that will guide entry level employees to help meet anticipated labor market needs of the future.
Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)
With a disproportionate number of the fastest growing occupations being STEM-based, both nationally and statewide, EWIB continues to creatively partner with proven regional leaders in their effort to re-engage students' interest in these key career-building fields.
The Eastern CT STEM Council was developed as a recommendation of the Workforce Committee (Co-Chaired by EWIB's Executive Director) of the Governor's Commission for Economic Diversification. Its purposes are to: 1) create a central regional body to coordinate the numerous STEM activities occurring in the region; 2) assist the development of a K-16 talent pipeline for high-skill/technical jobs of the future; and, 3) build replicable models that move to-scale effective programs that meet the workforce needs of STEM-related businesses. Council membership includes: High-wage regional employers, Local Education Authorities, Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs), higher education, economic development, and organized labor, among others.
US Department of Labor Regional Innovations Grant (RIG)
In April 2008, EWIB was awarded a US Department of Labor (US DOL) Regional Innovations Grant (RIG). EWIB's submission for the grant was driven by economic trends including skills shortages, shift away from high-wage manufacturing to lower-wage service jobs, and the need to diversify the economic base for future generations. EWIB's STEM Council is prepared to oversee the work of the grant that will result in a strategic plan that addresses a growing labor supply shortage and job skills mismatch.
The primary activities of the grant include: 1) mapping employers and connections to larger economic patterns; 2) investigating the engineering and technical skills pipeline; 3) conducting an analysis of funding currently in the region for STEM activities; and, 4) identifying the issues that cause the workforce supply-demand mismatch. This grant will create a plan to build and retain a pipeline of young, talented workers, re-tool the skills of mid-career workers, and leverage the knowledge of retiring "Baby Boomers" to create economic development opportunities.
Literacy & English Language Skills
Immigration was the largest supplier of new workforce entrants for Eastern CT during the last several years. To ensure this valuable segment of our region's workforce is equipped with the work skills for upward mobility, EWIB has convened the region's four (4) Adult Education providers, two (2) Community Colleges, & two (2) Literacy Volunteer organizations, to increase the capacity of literacy services in the region.
Constantly Changing Needs
Being prepared to guide dislocated workers into new career paths that will maintain their standard of living is how EWIB partners with economic development entities to retain the skilled workforce & diversify the Eastern CT region.