Bailey said the problem is on a national level, where no one seems to be doing anything about a condition in which millions of Americans remain out of work.
If Bailey’s role was to spell out a tough situation, Bennett’s was to outline what might be done about it on a regional level. Bennett centered her comments on the types of programs and strategies her organization is deploying to train and connect people to jobs.
The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, whose partners include SEH America and PeaceHealth, is working toward numerous goals aimed at boosting the regional talent pool, Bennett said. They include connecting students to employers, retraining workers and improving the workforce in targeted industries: manufacturing, health care and information technology.
One major objective is to prepare the region’s workforce for a growing number of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, industries, Bennett said.
To that end, the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council plans to convene “STEM Fest 2013” in September. The event (http://www.stem-fest.com/) is intended to increase students’ interest in local STEM businesses and careers by providing real-world, hands-on activities.