What Happened at the 2018 GGEDC Economic Roundtable

23 Feb 2018

GGEDC held an Economic Roundtable on January 26, 2018 at the Historic La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The focus of the roundtable discussion was workforce development for the construction, logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Several overarching goals helped to shape the Roundtable conversation, including:

  • Improve the quality and skills of the workforce
  • Help businesses meet their human resource demands
  • Provide channels for businesses and workers to connect

There was a fantastic turnout, with 56 people attending to represent the interests of the public and private sectors, non-profit agencies, local tribes, and academia.

Why We Focused on Workforce Development for the Construction, Logistics and Manufacturing Sectors

According to the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the number one obstacle to economic development is workforce development. Therefore, the Economic Roundtable sought to align with economic development planning completed for McKinley County by Innovate+Educate in 2017, in which construction, logistics, and manufacturing were identified as viable growth sectors. W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded the report by Innovate+Educate and as a result, is currently examining possible long-term investment in McKinley County to support workforce development efforts. To maximize the economic benefit of any economic recruitment opportunity, we must be able to employ our local residents in those newly created jobs. The alternative is to import labor because the required skill sets do not exist within the community. This is something we are actively seeking to prevent because it only diminishes the overall economic impact.

How We Achieved Our Objectives

Throughout the day, attendees interacted with each other to identify what can be done to augment and enhance the current delivery of workforce training programs within McKinley County.The Economic Roundtable brought together key players in workforce development to develop strategies and metrics that will guide implementation of workforce training programs for the construction, logistics and manufacturing sector. To guide the discussion, subject matters experts in each area presented and highlighted the skills and requirements needed to succeed based on new technologies being incorporated into individual sectors. Here are a few examples of technology-led changes taking place across all three sectors:

  • Construction equipment is now equipped with Global Position Satellites (GPS) to ensure the most accurate of measurements, making the ability to utilize GPS satellite equipment a necessity for new workers.
  • The logistics sector is moving full speed toward autonomous driving, creating the need for a diverse skill set.
  • The manufacturing sector continues to focus on productivity and efficiency, making it necessary for employees to be trained on the latest technology, programs, and safety standards.

With an understanding of the future skills employers will be requiring, participants were broken into three working groups based on sectors. Each group was tasked with developing strategies to enhance current workforce capacity in their respective sector in order to produce the required workers of tomorrow. Strategies were then separated into three implementation categories: policy, program and infrastructure. After in-depth group discussion, each group reported on their top strategies that could offer the highest impact on workforce development. GGEDC and NWNMCOG will now develop a final report, which will lay the groundwork for convening business councils for each respective sector. Those councils will be tasked with program development.

The GGEDC Economic Roundtable is a Valuable Resource

By bringing together public, private, non-profit, tribal and academic leaders with the common goal of promoting workforce development in McKinley County, the Economic Roundtable succeeded in creating a new environment for collaboration and coalition building. An additional advantage of attending the GGEDC Economic Roundtable, beyond contributing to the economic growth of McKinley County, is the opportunity to network with regional leaders, innovators and organizers. A reception on the evening of January 25th hosted Innovate+Educate provided an opportunity for attendees to network in addition to meeting the presenters and panelists.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

GGEDC would like to extend a warm thank you to the sponsors who made this event possible. The financial contributions of Murphy Builders, UPS, and UNM-Gallup were critical to the success of the event. Additionally, thank you to NWNMCOG, who served as a co-presenter and Jeff Kiely, Executive Director for NWNMCOG, who served as moderator.