Closing communication gap for employers

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is continuing to improve the pipeline between employers, workers and education and training providers through its Job Data Exchange, and it has selected Arizona as one of its pilot locations.

“Really the mission of the Job Data Exchange (JDX) is to improve how employers are signaling in-demand jobs and in-demand skills to their education and training providers,” Joshua Westfall, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation senior manager of policy and programs, said.

The project includes pilot participants from six states and Washington D.C.  

“One of the big challenges that we’re seeing from employers and education providers is there is a communication gap for how and when they are communicating changes in job descriptions. We see the JDX as a great tool to help them streamline that communication,” Jennifer Mellor, Greater Phoenix Chamber chief innovation officer, said.

JDX is led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and it is working with the Greater Phoenix Chamber to carry out the project in Arizona.

“Arizona, and specifically the Greater Phoenix Chamber, they have been working with us for years on different programs and initiatives on workforce development,” Westfall said.

In 2014, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched the Talent Pipeline Management, which focuses on better aligning workforce talent and employers’ hiring needs.

“Phoenix was a huge player in [the Talent Pipeline Management] and how we’re improving our education and workforce partnerships through a process of talent supply chains. And, they were great in that work and have built up a lot of collaboratives,” Westfall said.

Westfall explained that the Talent Pipeline Management was the signature initiative and JDX was built off of that foundation.

Dignity Health and Salt River Project are participating in the pilot in addition to the Greater Phoenix Chamber.

“One is looking at health care positions, obviously, and the other is looking at more IT, cyber-related positions. And, they were quick to jump on board because they saw the need for this work. The employers that are on board are all in because they see the need,” Mellor explained.

“We see that employers are finding a need and education and training providers want to work with employers on this is because by using the JDX open set of tools and resources, it would give the opportunity for our employers to improve their searches for qualified candidates and signaling hiring needs,” Westfall said.

The improved communication is also set to help students and those looking for jobs to access job requirements and descriptions to better match their skill sets to available jobs.

Westfall added that education and training providers will “then work with employers to improve their curriculum, their assessment, their coursework to better align these systems and make sure that there is shared value across all stakeholder groups and not just for one person.”

As it moves forward, the project’s team will focus on two main phases. JDX is currently in the codesign phase as it prepares for the piloting.

“We’re working directly with employers and are codesigning these JDX tools and resources where they’re talking about their job descriptions, their postings, [their] hiring processes,” Westfall explained.

The codesign phase is slated for completion in April 2019 and once it concludes, JDX will begin the pilot.

As part of the pilot phase, the participating employers will use the resources and tools from the co-design phase to improve job descriptions and postings built to improve communication with education and training providers.  

“That will culminate in an evaluation to say, ‘Have we moved the needle? Have we sent a clearer signal that’s usable and understandable and shows the needs and changing needs? Or, haven’t we?’ And, that’s what we’re really testing for in this pilot is that signal itself,” Westfall said.

The pilot will take place during spring 2019 and will be evaluated this summer. If the pilot is determined to be successful and useful, the JDX team would like to expand the project in 2020.

Sierra Ciaramella

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