Reinventing the workforce

June 09, 2016

MONACA, Pa. — Officials from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development came to Penn State Beaver today (June 9) to speak with community leaders about a first-of-its-kind workforce demands study and its impact on Beaver County.

The study — Inflection Point: Supply, Demand and the Future of Work in the Pittsburgh Region — mined data from focus groups and current job postings to predict the region will need to educate, train, re-train or attract talent for more than a million jobs by 2025.

“It is a monstrous task that will take all of us,” said Carey McDougall, Penn State Beaver’s interim chancellor and chief academic officer. “So today we join with the Allegheny Conference to begin the conversation and brainstorming that will, hopefully, lead us to solutions.”

The gathering — one of nine scheduled in the region this month — comes on the heels of Shell Chemicals’ announcement that it will build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. The plant is expected to employ 600 permanent workers and generate many more jobs in related industries.

“The announcement is just the beginning of what will happen in this region,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky. “It has expanded the scope of what’s possible.”

Though news of the plant was heralded across the region, Allegheny Conference officials were careful to point out that their study also pointed to broader workforce implications for many occupation clusters, including: health care, information technology, energy, science, construction, business and finance, engineering and production, and retail and hospitality.

Employees in all of these clusters will need to strengthen technological, customer service and leadership skills in the coming years, according to the study.

“We’ve always known we have a skills mismatch between supply and demand,” said Laura Fisher, senior vice president for workforce and special projects at the Allegheny Conference.

Penn State Beaver appears well-positioned for the challenge, already offering majors in business and information sciences and technology. And, as a result of studying similar workforce data, will launch a project and supply chain management major in the fall. The field is expected to grow by 25 percent in the next 10 years. It is also one of the industries Yablonsky predicted will swell as a result of Shell’s investment.

“Part of what makes a Penn State Beaver education so valuable is that we are able to respond to studies like this one, which improves career outcomes for our students and, in turn, benefits the region,” McDougall said.

Beaver’s Continuing Education division offers workforce training for many of the skills, including soft skills, the study predicts will be needed. Director Debra Roach took part in the conference’s study and will speak about workforce demands and solutions between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 10, on 1230 WBVP - 1460 WMBA.

For more information on the workforce demands study, click here.

For more information on Penn State Beaver’s programs, click here.

For more information about Penn State Beaver’s Continuing Education offerings, click here.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 25, 2016