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WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT RANKINGS
From Site Selection magazine, January 2021
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The 2021 Regional Workforce Development Rankings

by MARK AREND
WORKFORCe development RANKINGS

Joensuu, a city of 76,000 in Eastern Finland, is home to the European Forest Institute, appropriately enough. It’s also the home base of Valamis, a leading IT company specializing in the digitalization of learning. That may not be a new discipline, but it will take on greater urgency as remote learning becomes the norm. The company has 10 offices worldwide. In September 2020, Valamis published results from its second annual global report, The State of Learning and Development in the Workplace. More than 3,000 people were surveyed in more than 20 industries from entry-level to C-Suite executives in organizations from Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, the U.S., and the UK.

Findings from the survey show that roughly 93% of respondents globally believe updating knowledge and skills are important to an organization’s success, and more than 50% of executives and the C-Suite value skills development as extremely important to an organization’s future success, according to a report summary. Although the importance of learning and development has been recognized in every country surveyed, over 74% of respondents believe their organizations are actively encouraging the workforce to develop their skills, and nearly 56% of respondents had a dedicated person or team responsible for learning and development at their organization.

Approximately 70% of executives within the global survey express they value digital learning and development more as a result of COVID-19, and over 67% of all global participants in the survey believe digital learning and development can help minimize the effects of shocks and stresses of future events. You can access the full study and research results at valamis.com.

In the meantime, the regional rankings here are meant to provide some insight into which states are cultivating a workforce development culture relative to others in their geography. All states are awarded points according to their national rank in five objective measures of workforce-related resources: (1) CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2019, Workforce and Education sub-rankings; (2) Forbes’ 2019 Best States for Business Labor Supply sub-ranking; (3) U.S. News’ 2019 Best States for Education rankings; (4) ACT National Career Readiness Certificates for 2020; and (5) the most recent workforce preparation and development component of the State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). The states are then ranked within their region based on their total points.

Higher ranked states are likely to have a stronger workforce development ecosystem in place than lower ranked states. These rankings do not factor in the effectiveness of individual state workforce boards or talent development programs. Those are best assessed by companies and departments that have worked directly with those entities. These regional rankings are intended to be a starting point in assessing locations through the prism of talent attraction and retention. When you’re ready for a deeper dive into what’s actually available in states you’re assessing, be sure to include questions about digital learning resources. They’ll only grow in importance going forward.


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Mark Arend
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend has been editor in chief of Site Selection magazine since 2001. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.

 



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