News & Updates

Over Ninety-Four Percent of Erie County Employers Eager to Hire

Posted on March 10th, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Over Ninety-Four Percent of Erie County Employers Eager to Hire

Erie, PA – The Erie Regional Chamber released preliminary findings from a recent workforce delivery system assessment to determine the pathway forward to effectively grow the region’s talent pipeline. The preliminary report stated over 94% of Erie County employers are eager to hire additional employees over the next three years and believe work-based learning is the key to building a robust talent pipeline to serve local industries.

“Erie County’s ideal workforce development delivery system is a demand-driven, united collaboration that effectively delivers education and training needed by area employers,” said James Grunke, president and CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber. “It must ensure people are prepared for chosen careers and it ensures businesses have the talent pipeline needed to fill 21st-century jobs.”

Though several strengths are noted in the report – including the presence of good STEM programs, access to career and technical education programs, and the work of Erie County Career Pathway Alliance – two large issues presented itself in the analysis.

“First, the workforce development delivery system in Erie County is not cohesive and needs a single point of leadership to effectively target its limited resources,” said Debra Lyons, a principal strategist from Garner Economics, who specializing in workforce development and conducted the assessment. “Additionally, the lack of a community college creates a serious challenge to provide affordable, flexible, and stackable career opportunities for the majority population affected by its absence.”

Lyons’ assessment includes six recommendations: establish a brick-and-mortar public community college to build the workforce needed for economic growth; create an umbrella workforce development organization within the Erie Regional Chamber; develop and implement a holistic workforce development communications plan to streamline services and resources; to advocate for the development of a world-class soft skills program to close employer-identified gaps; increase high-value internship and apprenticeship work-based learning opportunities; and finally, develop a set of workforce development metrics to drive change and document progress.

“By tackling these six recommendations, Erie County residents and employers will fully develop clear pathways that enable upward mobility for the workforce,” said Lyons. “To do so effectively, employers, educators, workforce professionals, community leaders, and economic development organizations must work together under one strategic effort with strong leadership.”

The full report will be presented during the Erie Regional Chamber’s State of the Workforce event on April 24th. Be the first to learn more about the report by signing up for the workforce updates:

About the Erie Regional Chamber
The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) that serves as the lead economic development agency in the Erie region. The organization also serves as the voice of the business community, providing awareness, advocacy, and access to people, information, and education.