Reports examine state of regional workforce

The Portland-Vancouver metro area has added software and IT jobs at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country during nine of the past 10 years.

That finding is detailed in a new report released by a trio of workforce development boards that serve the region – Workforce Southwest Washington, Clackamas Workforce Partnership and Worksystems (together known as the Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative).

The collaborative focused on characteristics of the workforce in manufacturing, health care, technology and construction in six counties: Clackamas, Clark, Cowlitz, Multnomah, Wahkiakum and Washington.

Reports focusing on each sector are available here (PDF):

A fourth report, titled “State of the Workforce,” provides information about the quality of the workforce, available and projected jobs, and describes some of the challenges and opportunities facing our region.

It found that employers are increasingly having difficulty finding qualified workers and skill shortages are once again a pressing regional issue.

“Helping local workers prepare for the region’s growing economy and helping businesses find qualified workers is essential to the health of our regional economy,” the report reads. “We also know that many in our region do not have the skills necessary to participate in these thriving economic times and are struggling to make ends meet. To a large extent, the strength of our workforce and its ability to meet the needs of industry will determine whether we can sustain this growth in the years ahead.”

In a press release, the collaborative said the reports will help the workforce system understand the balance between regional workforce supply and industry demand to ensure workforce development efforts are aligned with the needs of the regional economy.

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