Carolyn Hatch was recently featured as an expert on workforce development at a conference on labor issues facing agriculture and the rural Midwest. The conference was hosted by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. The conference featured experts from academia, industry and policy.
Hatch discussed the ways in which globalization has pressured firms in market economies to tailor their products/services toward distinct market niches. In order to do so, they increasingly rely on highly skilled flexible workers with strong technical knowledge and specialized capabilities.
Hatch went on to explain that rural areas often face a competitive disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts due to lower educational attainment, population loss and a smaller potential workforce. Moreover, there can be impediments to building a strong local labor force for many small Midwest communities. This may be due to a variety of reasons, such as stigmas against manufacturing careers, disincentives on the part of local firms to invest in training due to poaching concerns, and poverty as an obstacle for educational attainment.
Hatch stressed the importance of community-based strategies to not only develop skilled workers in the local labor market but also attract talent from outside. Read the full article.
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