August 7, 2018
The RPC is developing a laborshed study for local Workforce Investment Area 17, which includes Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Piatt Counties. Set to measure the availability and characteristics of the regional labor force, the study will assist employers in the region with workforce development training, recruitment, and local development and facilitation of industry expansion and other services.
The RPC and area employers will utilize the information obtained from the study to determine training needs in the community and to promote job opportunities according to the skill sets of the talent pool. The study will also assist businesses, developers, and site selectors in understanding the local labor market in order to make informed expansion and site selection decisions based on the strengths of the region. Data from the study will support economic development in the community, as well.
In the spring of 2018, the RPC coordinated with partners in each of the four counties to obtain home zip codes of employees from many employers in the region. Staff then tracked and mapped the zip codes to develop a laborshed region of where employees reside and work. The RPC is contracting with Scantron and SmartLead to conduct random phone surveys in August and September of 18- to 64-year-old individuals living in the laborshed area.
“We want to inform the community about this effort so that we can obtain the most accurate and useful data available from individuals regarding employment, says RPC Chief Executive Officer Dalitso Sulamoyo. “We want residents to know that these survey calls are not scams—we are only collecting anonymous information for our laborshed study. The survey takes less than 10 minutes and we appreciate everyone who helps us by responding to it.”
Individuals will receive a text message on their cell phones prior to receiving a phone call. The survey message and caller will indicate their representation of one of the four counties’ Workforce Development programs. Survey questions include, but are not limited to, employment status, current and previous occupations, desired hours, educational and training levels, current and desired benefits, and job search methods. There are no questions related to identifiable information such as name, social security number, or date of birth.
Using the survey data, the RPC will create an analysis report for the laborshed region in 2019 and promote that report once it is completed. Toriana Rhone, the RPC’s Workforce Development program manager, is optimistic about the survey and report. “We look forward to using this analysis to help each of our counties in assessing and enhancing workforce development,” she comments.