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State releases labor and education alignment report

Staff Reports • Nov 10, 2017 at 10:02 PM

NASHVILLE – A report released by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development highlights jobs in high demand across Tennessee, including occupations in information technology, health care, engineering and production, among others. 

TNECD’s annual Labor and Education Alignment Program report, a regional study of occupations in high demand among employers throughout Tennessee, identified more than 250 occupations with high employer demand statewide. This year’s report also included an interactive dashboard. 

“Even as Tennessee sustains historically low unemployment rates, employers continue to look for workers to fill highly-skilled positions in a variety of industries,” said TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe. “In order to sustain Tennessee’s strong employment and labor market, we need to continue to train and educate our residents for the jobs businesses are seeking to fill, especially in highly-skilled occupations. With the LEAP report, stakeholders from across Tennessee can better align education and industry.” 

While nearly every industry group has jobs in high demand, the report focused on job openings in information technology, health care, engineering, production, business and financial operations and transportation and material moving occupations. The LEAP report also outlined postsecondary programs of study available throughout the state that can prepare students for jobs in the in-demand occupation groups.

TNECD’s Center for Economic Research in Tennessee used key metrics such as median wage, online job postings, hires and job openings to identify occupations with high employer demand.

Many of the occupations identified in the report are within science, technology, engineering and math and IT fields, denoting a skills gap and need for increased postsecondary completions in the areas.

“The LEAP report is an invaluable tool provided by CERT. Tennessee communities can easily navigate the data and dashboard to identify in-demand occupations and opportunities for partnership to align industry and education,” said TNECD director of workforce development Ann Thompson. “Dual enrollment, work-based learning and apprenticeships are just a few of the workforce strategies that can be developed by utilizing this information.”

The LEAP report seeks to aid local, regional and state policy decision-making by outlining occupations in high demand and showcasing opportunities to reduce gaps between education and the workforce needs of employers. 

Additionally, the LEAP report highlighted the opportunities for increased education and industry alignment in terms of workforce development strategies such as work-based learning, internships, co-ops and apprenticeships.

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