by Kristin Dietzel

Workforce shortages, baby boomer retirements, skills gaps, millennial job-hopping, brain drain, employee disengagement. These threats, both real and overstated, have been sounding alarms nation-wide for several years creating a looming (and leering) workforce bogeyman. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps growing bored of the workforce shortage rhetoric, some economists and politicians have also began a post-skills gap drumbeat, claiming that tackling the skills gap to solve job shortages is insufficient at best and completely dead at worst. This is also an oversimplification as we look in our own community to the skills gaps that have been successfully filled or at least enjoy a much healthier pipeline today than five years ago – these include middle-skill occupations like welding, CNC machinists, industrial sewers, and construction equipment operators to name a few that once topped skills gap analyses in our region. In fact, construction equipment operators, which ranked #1 in the Greater Dubuque 2015 Skills Gap report, dropped to number 23 in this year’s report, following the implementation of targeted training at Northeast Iowa Community College through the Opportunity Dubuque model.

To read this and other featured articles in their entirety, purchase the January 2017 issue of Julien’s Journal magazine. Click the link to subscribe. Single issues are also available in print at area newsstands.

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