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Patch & fill those leaky buckets


Workforce shortage is a people problem: too few qualified people where they're needed. Community college Prof-Tech programs are designed to respond, but the solutions might not always be on adequate, sustainable, or on-target.
If a workforce has too few people, the problem is likely caused by either 1) attrition of current workers or 2) grow of job volume, most likely a combination of both. The reliance on Prof-Tech graduates
to solve this problem is good, but maybe not great. Part of the solution might require workforce retention - if employers can prevent "leakage" it will save them money and alleviate pressure on Prof-Tech programs to produce more graduates.
Maybe Prof-Tech programs can innovate a solution with local employers? Instead of solely focusing on minting new workers, Prof-Tech programs could help employers retain their existing workers by up-skilling, cross-skilling, and cycling senior workers into the community college classroom where their skills, experience, and perspectives can be transferred to the next generation. Employers value retention and are willing to invest in it. On-boarding new employees can be costly in terms of time, money, and productivity. Preventing attrition can be an important and lucrative service.
I know this idea is not new, but I don't see much progress in implementing it. What I do see is Prof-Tech programs operating at
capacity, trying to add more people to a leaky, expanding workforce system while falling further behind in the process. By expanding focus beyond "workforce supply" to include "workforce optimization," Prof-Tech programs might be able to carve a new niche while finding new revenue models.