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May 23, 2019

MAC Unveils the Metro Atlanta Talent Pipeline Report

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Tuesday, MAC unveiled the Talent Pipeline Report - important workforce data that analyzed the assessments of more than 21,000 students from 95 high schools in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties. The data, developed by YouScience, provides insights into students’ aptitude and interest in high-demand career fields. It builds on the great work already underway at MAC with initiatives like Choose ATL, Choose ATL after 5 and the Your Talent Your Future work to address the region’s workforce needs. A key tactic in closing this skills gap is to drive career awareness and engagement opportunities for our students across the region.

Attendees included a healthy mix of employers, education providers, higher education representatives, non-profits and elected officials.

Rich Thompson, VP Business Development for YouScience, provided an overview of the YouScience platform and shared some of the key findings from the report. The report zeroed in on students who displayed both high aptitude and high interest in key occupational clusters. Highlights include:

  • The highest overlap of aptitude and interest in the Patient Care field at 30 percent.
  • In all other fields analyzed, the overlap was 7 percent or less, with the lowest at 1 percent in the skilled trades.
  • While male students showed more interest in all career fields listed except Patient Care, female students’ aptitudes exceeded male students’ in logistics, IT, computer programming, software development, manufacturing production and patient care. This divergence results from different interests, not abilities.
  • The report found distinctions by race, as well, with African-American students showing strong potential as healthcare technologists/technicians, and Hispanic students doing well in the skilled trades. White students showed the highest aptitude in 7 of 10 career fields, suggesting a need for focus on closing the gap in access to high-quality education.

Understanding where student interests are gives us some insight into what the future workforce might look like. “If we let current areas of interest dictate which  post-secondary education and career paths students choose, we will always be struggling to fill our talent needs,”  said Amy Lancaster-King, MAC’s Director of Workforce Development. Increasing interest and career awareness in areas of demand are critical. “We can’t fill all of our high demand- high wage jobs , if we aren’t intentional about including all students, regardless of race or gender,” said Amy Lancaster-King.

Greg Wilson, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

One of the best ways to close these gaps is to bring business and education together through experiential learning. Experiential learning engages students with both interest and aptitude in high demand areas - whether it’s the 27.5% of students in patient care, or the 3.1% in computer programming; grows interest with students that have a high aptitude, but low interest in areas like IT Analysts and Administration and Manufacturing Engineering with 53%  and 42% of students having high aptitude, but low interest; and increase student aptitudes, especially among minority students, where there is interest in high demand areas, but lack high aptitude. With experiential learning options available in all shapes and sizes, there is something for every school and employer regardless of size or capacity. Greg Wilson and Rebecca McIver, with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, walked attendees through the Experiential Learning Navigator – a tool to help both employers and educators start or scale their experiential learning programs.

Rachel McIver, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Following the presentation was an Experiential Learning Workshop where employers, CTAE leaders from Georgia DOE and local work-based learning coordinators participated in table discussions to learn from each other about getting an EL program off the ground and addressing barriers. Brooke Perez, Workforce Development Manager at Georgia Power Company, shared how GPC has leveraged YouScience in partnership with local schools to build out a talent attraction and recruitment program for some of their hardest to fill jobs. The workshop ended with everyone committing to one action item towards implementing or scaling their EL program.

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