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Author: 
Brownsville Economic Development Council

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — About 50 company representatives from the Greater Brownsville area participated in the first part of a three phase initiative created by the Brownsville Economic Development Council and United Brownsville with the intent of closing the gap between education, workforce, and industry.

“Talent Brownsville – 2015 and Beyond: Building a Regional Talent Supply Chain” is a three phase initiative whose purpose is to identify the challenges and best practices being employed in the attraction, training, and retention of the workforce in local companies.

It also seeks to create ways to eliminate the skills gap and increase participation in the labor force by constructing an aligned, collaborative approach to providing the talent necessary for long term economic growth.
 
Phase one of the initiative, held Nov. 18 at the University of Texas at Brownsville’s Salon Cassia, concentrated on listening to the employers perspectives on the challenges, concerns, and needs regarding the local workforce. 
 
This first part brought together companies CEOs, General Managers, Plant Managers, Human Resources Managers and other managerial positions representing various industries including Medical, Manufacturing, Logistics and Transportation, Back Office Operations, Retail and Financial Services, Call Centers, and skilled trades such as construction, auto mechanics, among others.
During the 5 hour long session, employers were divided into small groups based on industry clusters and worked on identifying the challenges they have with current workforce or challenges they experience when trying to recruit and fill certain positions. Employers also identified root causes for those challenges and identified possible solutions to address the issues.
 
Throughout the session, employers were engaged in the discussions, and found it interesting to see that many of them face similar challenges when it comes to workforce, despite their different industries.
 
All the information gathered from the employers’ workshop will be presented to educators of all levels during the second phase of the “Talent Brownsville” initiative. During this phase, educators will find out about the needs employers have for a well trained workforce and will discuss the skills and technical programs that are needed in the area to better equip employees and supply skilled graduates to the local industry.
 
For the third phase, education and local industry will come together and implement a continuous communication flow and develop plans of action to work together for a win/win solution.
 
The dates for the second and third phases of the “Talent Brownsville” initiative are still pending.

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