Sep 25, 2019 - Economy & Business

What cities and companies have in common

Reproduced from Strada-Gallup Education Survey; Graphic: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Strada-Gallup Education Survey; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Cities and companies need the same thing: skilled workers.

Driving the news: The metro areas that are more likely to benefit from a skilled workforce have populations that are less inclined to get additional education, per the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey.

  • That's a big problem when you consider how many low- and mid-skilled jobs are expected to be wiped out by automation.

What they're saying: "The coming crisis centers around workforce availability as the baby boomer generation retires and takes a massive cut out of the labor pool, coupled with disruption from AI and machine learning," Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, told Axios. "There's a need for companies to scale technical training in the midst of a massive workforce shift."

Details: The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area is on the higher end of the skills anxiety spectrum, with 50% of people saying they believe they need more education.

  • Tech companies — such as Apple, Cisco, Google, Intel — want a worker pipeline in Arizona because it is relatively close to (and much cheaper than) Silicon Valley.
  • They've teamed up with the 10 community colleges in Phoenix (with 65,000 students) to create industry academies to train people in specific in-demand skills.
  • "It's all about the talent pipeline," Camacho said. "Instead of all these companies doing it on their own, we're seeing them lean into building out the broader base for them to continue and grow and scale in a market that's cost-competitive."
  • That, in turn, helps Phoenix-area workers get the skills they need to stay competitive, too.

The bottom line: In cities and states where people express low motivation for enrolling in skills training, guaranteed higher wages or job placement is key to making it worth their while.

  • "The clearer the path people can see between education and the desired outcome, the more confidence they’ll have to act," Dave Clayton, SVP of consumer insights at Strada Education Network, told Axios.

Go deeper: The rise of corporate colleges

Go deeper