As Alabama recovers from a pandemic that left ripple effects across our economy, a shortage of qualified workers has been thrown into the spotlight. However, forward movement is happening to address this challenge. Governor Kay Ivey recently announced that Alabama is making significant progress towards its postsecondary attainment goal of adding 500,000 highly skilled employees to the state’s workforce by the year 2025.
The Alabama Workforce Council and Ivey developed the Success Plus plan in 2018 to help Alabama’s skilled workforce grow while simultaneously fueling business growth across the state. Since launching the plan, Alabama has added 214,922 credentials, according to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC).
“Whether it’s a degree earned in a four-year or community college, a professional certification or a credential, this additional preparation creates improved opportunities for Alabamians to better their lives by participating in the workforce and assures that Alabama businesses can continue to grow with the skilled workforce they need,” the AlabamaWorks! site reads.
Markstein supports this initiative and – recognizing that the shortage of quality workers is not just specific to Alabama but is a national problem – Markstein has made workforce development a focus area for the agency. CEO Keelie Segars says reaching audiences where they are is a crucial part of the agency’s specialized approach.
“We’ve definitely learned the power of personas. Not just understanding age, geographic and demographic information, but really starting to understand behavioral patterns and how we match them up with research to make sure we are communicating in a way that’s going to resonate.”
Through years of research, Markstein has gained insight into potential barriers preventing people from entering the workforce. With unemployment reaching historic lows, it’s more critical than ever to understand the motivators to draw potential employees back into the workforce and, more specifically, industry and career fields that will provide long term, successful career paths.
While employers can’t control certain barriers that prevent people from entering the workforce, they can address a lack of connection with their target audiences. By using creative storytelling, Markstein engages target audiences where they are.
A notable focus of Governor Ivey’s progress report is the push to credential the Alabama’s younger demographic: 25 and under, a key age group when it comes to postsecondary attainment in our state.
“The choice to include ages 16 to 24 is based on the reality that the workforce includes people younger than 25. Additionally, many of the Success Plus initiatives and related programs target youth directly,” reads the report, which was a collaboration between AlabamaWorks! and the Alabama Workforce Council. (Governor Ivey also partnered with Credential Engine and the CREC to produce the report).
At Markstein, we shape our workforce development campaigns with these younger audiences in mind. We developed the “Find Your Element” campaign for the Association of Clinical Research Professionals to educate students and pique their interest in learning about careers in clinical research. For the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, we were able to refresh their Go Build Alabama campaign and generate over 5,000 leads from students and career changers.
Workforce development is critical for our state’s success. As Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield stated in Governor Ivey’s release, “Alabama’s current and future economic growth depends on a highly skilled workforce.”
As Alabama makes progress toward its postsecondary attainment goal, Markstein plans to remain a key player in helping companies recruit, train and retain credentialed individuals as they enter the workforce. Learn more about our workforce development offerings.
Photo Credit: Cary Norton