The Cobb Chamber of Commerce and SelectCobb released the 2021 Workforce Development Study in conjunction with the Cobb Workforce Partnership (CWP), which outlines the strategic plan for CWP over the next five years. The Cobb Workforce Partnership is a workforce development initiative devoted to fostering synergistic partnerships between Cobb County’s educators, industry experts, government leaders and community partners with the goal of meeting workforce needs through innovative approaches to education and training.
The study found that the county’s population, labor pool and rate of adults earning bachelor’s degrees or higher had increased since the Cobb Chamber’s inaugural workforce study in 2015. The county’s unemployment rate has decreased since 2015. In addition, the 2021 study determined that the top two industry sectors for the county by employment numbers are construction and skilled trades and healthcare and bioscience.
“The top reason companies continue to locate and expand in Cobb County is access to a highly trained workforce,” says Dana Johnson, COO at the Cobb Chamber and Executive Director of SelectCobb. “This study conducted by the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University, gives us more insight into how to address the county’s current and future workforce needs.”
To better understand the workforce status, challenges, and opportunities of Cobb County, the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University conducted an online survey of local business, industry, and education partners. Additionally, Cobb Workforce Partnership recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic unquestionably altered the workforce landscape in 2020; in previous years, one of the greatest challenges reported by CWP participants was a tight labor market with historically low unemployment rates. This survey sought to understand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on local workforce.
Summary of results:
- 4% of respondents agreed that employees hired in Cobb County have the technical skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their jobs
- 2% of respondents agreed that employees hired in Cobb County have the soft skills needed to be successful in their jobs
- 7% of respondents indicated that someone in their organization knows where to access training for new or existing employees
- 2% of respondents indicated that someone in their organization is familiar with organizations that can help meet their workforce development needs
- 6% of respondents agreed that their business has the opportunity to partner with the local schools on workforce development and initiatives.
Since the Cobb Workforce Partnership was launched in 2015, the initiative has achieved significant success in placing Cobb County as a top-tier location for businesses seeking a skilled labor pool. Some of CWP’s key accomplishments include:
- Targeted Industry Councils – Founded in response to the Cobb Chamber’s 2015 study, each council meets to engage in focused dialogue that impacts the short and long term workforce needs in each industry.
- College and Career Academies – A high-priority goal from the 2015 study, these institutions equip students with the skills and experience that local businesses need most. Through community partnerships and investments, both of Cobb’s public school systems have opened their own state-of-the-art educational facilities.
- Veteran’s Education Career Transition Resource (VECTR) – The current VECTR location is in Warner Robbins. The 2020 Georgia Legislative Session allocated $2.25 million to bring an additional VECTR to the Marietta Campus of Chattahoochee Technical College.
- WorkSource Cobb CARES Act Funding — Cobb County Government issued $1 million in CARES Act funding to CobbWorks, Inc., the private not-for-profit organization operating as WorkSource Cobb, to provide a robust economic recovery and humanitarian assistance project to more than 230 Cobb residents and employers.
View the complete the complete study and an executive summary at https://selectcobb.com/competitive-advantages/workforce-talent/.