Two different studies of Mecklenburg County’s workforce development programs, sponsored by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, were conducted in the past two years– one looking at adults ages 25 and older, the other looking at youth ages 14-24. Analysis of the two studies revealed many of the same problems and offered many of the same suggestions.
Workforce development programs in the county, which range from government-run to private groups, are plagued with service duplication as well as service gaps, with little communication or collaboration among various programs. Other problems noted include difficulty finding jobs for workers with few skills, insufficient job preparation, and lack of tracking of program participants during and afterward.
Some of the recommendations shared by these reports include bringing members of the workforce development sector together to build a unified system and developing a comprehensive tracking system.
Mark Sivy wrote this article while a graduate student working at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2011.