TNECD released its annual Labor and Education Alignment Program report recently, a regional study of occupations in high demand among employers throughout Tennessee. The evaluation identifies occupations with high employer demand by focusing on key metrics such as median wage, online job postings, hires and job openings. The report also highlights a few key education programs offered in the state that prepare students and job seekers for in-demand occupations in these fields.
TNECD’s Center for Economic Research in Tennessee created the report, along with the TNECD’s Director of Workforce Development.
“Tennessee is poised to continue to experience significant job growth for the foreseeable future,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “How successful our state is in the coming years, however, depends on the readiness of our workforce and aligning our statewide education offerings with the job needs of Tennessee industries. Programs such as the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect are ensuring all Tennesseans have access to higher education. With the LEAP report, stakeholders across the state can better align education and industry to make sure our future workforce is getting the training and education for the jobs our businesses are looking to fill.”
The LEAP report identified more than 250 occupations with high employer demand across the state. While nearly every industry group has jobs in high demand, the report focused on job openings in engineering, IT, health care and production occupations. The LEAP reports also outlines educational tracks and the types of postsecondary programs available throughout Tennessee that can prepare students for jobs in these four in-demand occupation groups.
The LEAP report is meant to aid local, regional and state policy decision-making by outlining occupations in high demand and highlighting opportunities to reduce gaps between education and the workforce needs of employers.
The report can be used for career exploration and planning by educators, career advisers, parents, students, local chamber of commerce and others. Additionally, the LEAP report highlights the opportunities for increased education and industry alignment in terms of workforce development strategies such as work-based learning, internships, co-ops and apprenticeships.
LEAP is a statewide program designed to help post-secondary institutions provide students with the skills and credentials employers need through aligning education and industry. LEAP is the result of legislation introduced by Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.
Twelve LEAP collaborations have been awarded grants in 2016 to assist with programs in advanced manufacturing, mechatronics, health care and other workforce development initiatives throughout Tennessee.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.