LANETT, AL (May 22, 2015) – The ability to attract and retain employers in communities across the country is a fierce competition that requires innovative and proactive thinking. Understanding these issues, the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) in Alabama has taken action to put their communities a step ahead of the rest by commissioning a comprehensive workforce analysis.
Prepared by Garner Economics, LLC of Atlanta, GA, the analysis provides a holistic assessment of the critical underlying characteristics of Chambers County’s complete workforce, including developed or acquired skills, knowledge of specific principles, occupations, education levels, age, level of self-employment and workforce participation. For potential and current employers, this analysis provides a real-world view of the county’s workforce capacity and potential, reveals unique strengths and marketing opportunities, and outlines distinct information prospects require for expansion and location decisions.
The Chambers County Development Authority is the first and only economic development organization in the state of Alabama to posses such a comprehensive study and can now better market its workforce assets and strengths and mitigate gaps to address and leverage in order to improve the county’s competitive position.
“At the CCDA, we constantly strive to make Chambers County a better place,” says CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray. “We have a Board of Directors and partners like Alabama Power Company that foster those efforts by encouraging the CCDA staff to think proactive and not reactive, and to set ourselves apart from the rest of the state and country. It was because of these standards that we chose to commission this comprehensive workforce analysis.”
“From our analysis, it’s evident that Chambers County offers a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that you would not necessarily appreciate by just reviewing the typical data that summarizes a county’s workforce,” Garner Economics Founder and President Jay Garner says. “Our analysis shows unequivocally that Chambers County would be an ideal location for manufacturers seeking workers with strong technical skills.”
“The data produced speaks for itself,” Gray added. “And we now stand alone in our ability to offer site selection consultants and companies around the world the vital workforce information needed to prove that Chambers County is the right place for their business.”
A key quantity realized from the study is a measure of the county’s entire workforce. Typical methods used to count workers fail to capture the actual size because workers are normally counted only at their place of employment. With a significant percentage of Chambers County workers commuting outside the county, most data projections vastly underestimate the total workforce. In this study, Garner Economics has, for the first time, produced an actual workforce size for Chambers County.
“Chambers County’s complete workforce totals 20,265, more than twice the size reported by standard Federal and state sources of 8,100. And the regional workforce totals more than 331,000,” Garner says.
“With this information, it is abundantly clear that we have the labor force to land our targeted projects,” Gray says.
In addition to size, the comprehensive analysis provides data that shows Chambers County’s workforce possess abundant qualities that are attractive to prospects and existing companies. The county’s workforce skills were particular strong in eight individual categories, all of which fall within the technical skills group.
“What’s apparent from this analysis is that Chambers County has a vastly underrated workforce,” says Gray. “The percentage of our workforce that meets the qualifications a wide variety of companies are looking for is exciting as we move this county into the future.”
Paramount to the continued success of the CCDA and growth of Chambers County is the unified support of many involved with this workforce analysis. This report will allow the community to incite regional efforts to increase its competitive position within the State of Alabama and country and to do so within one cohesive regional effort.
The points highlighted here offer just a snapshot of the findings revealed in the comprehensive study. The full copyrighted report will be available upon request to site selection consultants and potential companies, while an abbreviated report will be made available to existing industries in the county.