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Seven Trends Affecting Workforce Development

A Perspective from Centralina WDB Business Services Coordinator Vail Carter

The Great Recession has been challenging for the workforce system as many displaced workers and new graduates try to gain employment. As the Centralina Workforce Development Board partners with economic development officials, training providers and businesses to provide new job opportunities, we noted a few trends that are impacting job creation.

Current Trends Affecting Workforce Development

1. Recruiting is Picking up Among Smaller Employers
While larger companies are bracing for the rippling impact of the European debt crisis, we see about 25% of the small and medium-size companies strategically adding staff. Many foreign companies located in our region are in expansion mode, taking advantage of low capital costs and a stronger U.S. economy.

2. Unemployment Will Remain Relatively High
Economists predict the employment rate will remain over 7.5% for most of the country and North Carolina will struggle to lower unemployment to 8%. As noted in the 2012 Skills Survey of North Carolina Employers, part of the unemployment problem is due to job seekers not having a good skills match to the job opportunities that are available.

3. Collaboration is Having a Positive Impact
Many communities are discovering they simply can't grow economically without a skilled workforce capable of attracting and retaining solid companies. Businesses are seeking the advice of their local workforce boards, community colleges and economic development officials to assist them with developing strategies such as customized recruiting and training, on the job training assistance and career readiness certification.

4. Metrics, Metrics, Metrics
Looking for efficiencies everywhere, employers are benchmarking themselves against the competition and engaging their employees to make improvements in their operations. Business performance and energy assessments in addition to process improvements will complement the use of computer software help firms stay focused and more profitable. More tools such as the business performance and energy assessments used in the E3 process will be used (more information at

5. A 1099 Economy
The personal and professional services industries are burgeoning. More companies will "rent" the talent they need by using contract and part time workers.

6. Social Networking is Commonplace
More firms are using social networking for recruiting, marketing and public relations. They also are using it in training and development, and even in succession planning. Large companies will capitalize on their own internal social networking sites to communicate internally.

7. Economic Growth will be Regional
Economic growth will remain slow in North Carolina. John Connaughton, UNC-Charlotte economics professor predicts an annualized rate of 2% for the Charlotte USA region during the coming months. Federal Reserve Bank economists expect steady gains in the economy with more improvement as the housing market recovers. Modest but steady gains in the economy are predicted for the next year.

Centralina Workforce Development Board - The Competitive Force in Our Global Economy

As the board responsible for local workforce funding, we invest in our community by partnering with economic development, education, and businesses to create innovative strategies to serve career seekers and businesses. Our mission is very simple - -workforce development. Our vision - - not so simple. It's to make sure that every one of our region's businesses can compete in the global economy with an exceptional workforce and through our network of JobLink Career Centers. We implement the vision and direction of top business leaders to give you a competitive advantage in an ever-changing economy. Think of us as your human resource team. Business friendly; success driven.

For more information, visit our website at or contact David Hollars, Centralina WDB Executive Director at (704) 348-2717 or or Vail Carter, Centralina WDB Business Services Coordinator at (704) 348-2710 or

 Vail is the Business Services Coordinator for the Centralina Workforce Development        Board. His prior work experience includes non-profit management and banking. He     recently led a statewide skills survey of North Carolina employers and authored the     report that was released this year. Vail has presented at several state and regional     workforce conferences.


Tasha Pender

Regarding #2. Unemployment Will Remain Relatively High...The Skills Survey shows employers cant find qualified workers.

What are Employer responses to training incumbents who show potential for growth for the key positions that they cant seem to fill; then rehiring for the lower skilled positions? Both sides are going to have to take a proactive approach to closing the gap; we know it exists, what are we doing to fix it?

Vail Carter

The most common response from employers is the cost for in house training. It was common practice among major employers back in the 70's and 80's to invest thousands of dollars on each new hire and move them along the company career ladder but in the current environment training budgets have been slashed. A few businesses are now developing apprenticeship programs or assigning mentors to help solve their employment pipeline problems. I expect improvement in the housing market will also allow trained workers to relocate to where their skills are needed. The community colleges in our region are taking note on how they can offer cirriculums that meet employers needs and we are ecouraging Career and Technical Education advisors in the high schools to make sure they are helping students with good career decisions.

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