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New Partnership Provides Cutting Edge Research on Upskilling Sacramento Residents

By Renee John

Valley Vision, through CARES funding from the City of Sacramento COVID-19 Relief, partnered with Burning Glass Technologies to provide the most up-to-date analysis of job posting data to inform rapid reskilling and upskilling of community members impacted by the pandemic.   Based in Boston, Burning Glass Technologies provides real time data using job market analytics to drive data driven decision making.  The company is playing a growing role in informing education and workforce efforts.  Valley Vision’s new partnership with Burning Glass Technologies provides the opportunity to bring cutting edge research and analysis to our region to advise workforce strategies and investments as we recover and adjust to the evolving new normal.  

Valley Vision has been examining Future of Work trends for many years in partnership with region’s four workforce boards.  The current analysis was made possible building on Automation Risk for Jobs in the Capital Region (March 2020) report looking at the potential impacts of automation in our nine county region.  Within the scope of this information, specific occupation layoffs and demographic impacts from the pandemic were somewhat predictable.  Occupations experiencing mass layoffs coincided with occupations previously determined to be at higher risk of automation in the nine county Capital Region.  The demographics most impacted by pandemic layoffs were women, minorities and younger workers, correlating to demographics most predicted to be at automation risk in this same report.  Given this, how do we build job resiliency for our most at risk community members?

Opportunities to upskill workers to improve job quality, including improving wages and reducing future risk of automation/obsolescence, fall into three main categories; Digital Skills, Professionalism Skills, and Managerial Skills.

In the category of digital Skills, those most requested by employers in occupations without a Bachelor’s degree requirement included Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel and Computer Literacy.  Specific digital skill requests for occupations below a Bachelor’s degree were relatively minimal outside of the occupations within the technology sector.  Occupations requiring a Bachelor’s degree or above showed more significant digital skill requests, although most were still minimal (less than 5% of overall postings).  The top five digital skills requested for occupations requiring a Bachelor’s degree or above included Microsoft Office, SQL, Java, Software Development and JavaScript.   Digital skill requests in the Capital Region represent slightly lower than the national level.  Across all education levels, Microsoft Office is the most requested digital skill for employment.

Interpersonal or professionalism skills are the highest requested skills across current job postings meeting a “quality of jobs threshold” requiring a minimum income of $36,000 per year, reduced automation risk and a minimum of 500 openings.  The highest requested skills in this category included Communication Skills, Organizational Skills, Teamwork/Collaboration, and Problem Solving in ranking order.  Customer service is an additional skill requested across many occupations related to the skills noted in this section.  Since interpersonal skills are relatively un-automatable, an increased emphasis on building these inherently human traits create a protective factor to prevent future layoffs and increased employment opportunities.

Providing training in key managerial skills demonstrates a significant opportunity for front line workers to move up the career ladder, improve employability, job quality and wages, as well as reduce automation risk.  The most highly requested skills in this category include Management Skills, Scheduling, Budgeting and Planning. Specific training programs offering this key managerial skills could provide immediate opportunities for advancement to less at-risk positions.  These skills are also highly transferable, offering the opportunity for workers to move across industries if needed or desirable.  

Other findings include specific skills identified in production and maintenance occupations including Physical Abilities, Preventative Maintenance, Repair and Troubleshooting.  Production and maintenance occupations are a valuable industry sector, although a smaller sector in our Capital region.  Targeted training to meet employer demands in this sector would include a focus on the aforementioned skills.  

As a result of the pandemic, large numbers of our community have become unemployed.  Valley Vision is committed to bringing current, relevant data to our region’s workforce and economic partners to inform focused efforts and investment in key areas to maximize impact.  Rapid reskilling or upskilling can be accomplished by building skills in one or more of the key areas identified, with the most significant advantage including training in multiple competencies.  We thank the City of Sacramento for this investment, bringing a new partnership and data driven strategies to inform reemployment efforts and build a stronger regional economy for all.  

To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance a future-ready workforce in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!”

Renee John is a Valley Vision Project Leader managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.

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