RFP - Q&A Responses

Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 by Nate Strum

In line with our recent RFP, here are answers to the submitted questions:

1)   Are the “career pathways” for Licking County already identified? If so, where can we find more information on them? (Manufacturing, health care, IT?) or do you expect the consultant to build-out the career pathways as part of the needs assessment?


In reviewing anecdotal evidence for Licking County, the following career pathways have been identified as our primary, economic - based opportunities:

Healthcare

IT

Manufacturing/skilled trades

Logistics

If the consultant believes these are not appropriate, an additional scope of work can be reviewed with a pathway analysis included.

2)  Are you looking for best practices in communities with similar economic conditions and trends, or are you looking for best practices that apply in both periods of growth and decline?

We are looking for best practices in communities with similar economic conditions and trends to Licking County.

3. Are there specific state-level standards and requirements that are not aligned with the business community? Or should the needs assessment seek to clarify that alignment?

Anecdotally, it is the impression of local employers that life skills (re: job-readiness skills) are not being adequately developed and would like to include an assessment that clarifies the needs and proposes better alignment of state-mandated requirements with needs of local employers -- ideally thorough cooperative/collaborative efforts between both public schools and private industry.


4. The action plan identifies “Available Workforce” as the top challenge - does this mean an insufficient number of available workers, or is this more related to the skills gaps (life or educational) in the workforce that is available?

Both.  Although Licking County is growing, we are seeing available workforce reduced by larger employers and a misalignment of skills.  This is a principle reason to implement an occupational marketing campaign to recruit workers from surrounding communities as well as upskill existing (underemployed) residents. 

5. The action plan notes that “...key occupations for the Advanced Material Cluster in the Columbus metro area indicate a below average workforce availability [a lower concentration of jobs in the region than what is typical].” It is not clear how the lower concentration of jobs translates into below-average workforce availability when Licking County has an unemployment rate below 4 percent. Are you looking to attract workers and firms from within the metro region or is there some other measure of the available workforce?

Although the Columbus Metro is below average for this type of workforce, Licking County is above average (leading the region with nearly 10% growth in manufacturing since 2015) -- which has lead to a higher concentration of these career pathways locally.  To that end, we are looking to attract workers as well as streamline local education partners to include this career pathway as part of their programming.

6. What’s driving the desire to focus on “life skills”? Is this something you’ve been hearing from employers, educators, or somewhere else? Are there specific examples of gaps in “life skills” that you can share, for context?

It has been anecdotal, at best.  Communication skills, small group work, critical thinking, problem solving, etc.  I think this will be more defined through the course of the analysis and work with local employers on their specific needs.

7. From your perspective, how have existing C-TEC programs/partnerships been working (or not working) in helping the County reach its workforce goals?

I think both our partners from C-TEC and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) have worked well in reaching the County's workforce goals.  The challenge we are facing today is exploring, and understanding best practices, around "workforce development" into our traditional high school programming (our local schools are limited by requirements from the State of Ohio as to what they can, and cannot do).  


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