This plan was accessible to required partners, local elected officials, employers, interested parties, education systems and human services agencies. The plan considers the points-of-view of youth and adult job-seekers, displaced workers, workers with special needs and the employer’s ability to access local labor pools to match appropriately trained workers to existing vacancies.
The Lower Shore consists of a geographical area of 1227 square miles with major population centers ranging from seven to thirty miles apart. The population is approximately 176,657 with 124,183 White, 42,088 Black/African Americans, 3,219 Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 6,964 Hispanic Latino (any race). The Shore’s civilian labor force is 92,618 where 83,250 are employed, yielding an unemployment rate of about nine percent. Over half of the area labor force resides in Wicomico County, with the area’s lowest annual unemployment rate. The seasonal nature of the area’s economy is reflected in labor force patterns. Participation tends to climb sharply during the summer months as the tourism season gets underway and bottoms out in winter as seasonal activities diminish. However, the off-season is getting much shorter as a result of additional year round tourist activities in the region.
Some of the highest employment industries in the region include leisure and hospitality, education and health services and construction. Since the area is a hot spot for retirees, the healthcare services industry has been booming, with an intense need for training in this area. LSWA is becoming more involved in a variety of healthcare groups and initiatives, primarily focused on bringing more nurses and nurse educators to the areas and retaining and/or upgrading the current nurse workforce.
To better serve businesses, job-seekers and youth, the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance partners with other community agencies. This involves coordinating with existing organizations to ensure that workforce issues are brought to the forefront.
Industry clusters currently identified for the Lower Shore are healthcare, manufacturing, construction, hospitality and tourism, agriculture and aerospace (predominately for NASA Wallops Island). The list is adjusted or pared down for the Lower Shore based on these projections. In addition, if there is training in a high demand occupation that is not addressed on the MHEC training provider list, LSWA will seek out programs with the necessary curriculum to be added to the list. Labor market data (provided by DLLR) and past training trends are the objective measures LSWA utilizes to develop a dynamic training strategy.
In response to severe funding cuts, Tri-County Council (under the leadership of Local Elected Officials) streamlined the delivery of training services to a central location on the Lower Shore. This location is the One-Stop Job Market, located in Salisbury. Shore Transit, the regional transportation network, has regularly scheduled stops at this location in an effort to provide maximum access. The One-Stop Job Market using the Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) system includes an expansion of access points primarily utilizing the public library system. The Mobile One-Stop job market makes career resources available to more remote areas, correctional facilities, schools, libraries, courthouses etc.
To prepare for the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in Maryland, local strategic and operational plans are periodically developed by the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance (LSWA) to identify workforce needs and strategies for a five (5) year period. Workforce plans are developed as a collaborative effort of Board members, required partners, officials, employees, interested parties, educational systems, secondary and post-secondary, and myriad human services agencies. All work with the common purpose of maximizing the potential of the Lower Shore’s (Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico counties) human capital. This year the process was facilitated by a local business consultant through several workgroups and meetings.
Continuous oversight of local WIOA activity is accomplished through the Lower Shore Workforce Investment Board with the advice of the Youth Committee regarding the needs of local youth preparing for entry into the workforce.
WIOA Five-Year Operational Plan rev.2012
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