“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” ~ Malcolm X
It is now being recognized across most industry sectors that in order to stay competitive in a global marketplace, businesses must look beyond cost and productivity efficiencies and also ensure that knowledge-based commodities such as innovation, creativity and adaptability are also considered. These come in the form of human-capital, where the employee’s personality, skills, education and work experience are supported and further developed enabling both the individual and the company to reach their full potential.
For our region we have seen a defined shift from resource based industry to a knowledge based economy, with the tech sector in BC now employing 100,000, more people than oil, gas, mining and forestry combined. This sector includes a wide variety of businesses such as social media, graphic design, web design, e-commerce, security, software development, and the list goes on! This impact is far reaching as technology continues to foster innovation in the way we do business across all areas from farming to advanced manufacturing.
As part of this growing trend it is becoming a high priority for communities to attract a skilled workforce through a combination of job opportunities, quality of life, training and education.
Not surprisingly, increased education is associated with:
- Increased salaries
- Less unemployment
- Healthier lifestyles
- Lower rates of criminal activity
So it is a win-win for a community, employers and employees.
The Mission economic development department has a focus on improving workforce and educational development and is now looking to capture prime employment data using a reporting system to track all of the credible job postings within our community and across the region. This information allows us to gain valuable insight into where and what type of occupations are in demand and to then offer relevant assistance to local business, such as identifying potential training and post-secondary educational opportunities.
In more recent months the reports are also capturing the levels and types of education job-seekers have and a trend appears to be developing in Mission. We are seeing an increase in the number of applicants who have a post-secondary education in the trades, manufacturing and construction industries.
Economic development must also look to adapt and be innovative in its practice. The use of this powerful data as part of our business retention and attraction strategy will help us develop policies, tools and programs to align skilled workers with industry attraction and growth.